Somebody named Io

Somebody named Io

When nobody knows your name, you cock your ear at every small sound.

Could that be the call? Might those be the syllables that circle you at last?

When nobody knows your name, you’re still somebody.

When you are a kitten, you know. You know, in the meadow under your ribs. You know, in the wisdom older than information.

Io, Ganymede, Europa, and Callisto

You know, because you are Io, first of your essence. You do not know that your mother, Jupiter, had five kittens. You will never know the fifth sibling, nor your mother’s courage. You only know a world where love runs rings around your needs. You know two mothers, Jupiter and foster mama Tiana. You know that you matter more than space and time.

You may not know that your half-moon ears will unfurl, and you will hear the sounds of a percussive planet. You may not know that you will someday fill a carrier all by yourself, today’s sparrow bones turned strong as an eagle. You may only know that you are warm and commissioned to wiggle. You are safe enough to be silly, roly-poly over sibling feet and faces. You are magnificent as any lynx. You are a link in a great chain of love.

You are already giving commands, as only a real “somebody” can do. Your foster mama chooses you over sleep. She has been trained in the delicate art of keeping you alive, and she will keep her charge even when her eyes are bleary and your shrieks are citric.

You may not know that the tube they snake down your throat is life-saving angel hair. You may not know that food will soon become your favorite thing. You may not know that everything will soon become your favorite thing. You may only know that you are not afraid. You are not cold. You are no longer a cupcake-sized amphitheater for hungers.

You are Io, though you have not yet caught your name. Your mother was named for the second largest planet. Love is the largest planet. Your siblings are Callisto, Ganymede, and Europa.

Despite the best care, Callisto will pass away. You will not forget her. You will not remember how fragile you were, too.

You will grow into a noble moon. You know that love came galloping. You came into the kingdom whose leaders are smaller than protein bars. You lived because large, loping beings know you are somebody.

You were somebody before we saw you. You are somebody by sheer force of your soul, and your shriek, and your silken infant-fur. You will grow to make larger beings remember that they are somebody, too. You will grow to know that the name of life is mercy.

Tomorrows will tumble off the vine, and you will have the grace to take them for granted. You will never know how close you came to leaving without a name. You will learn that poultry paste is as fun to stomp as to eat.

You will chew your brothers’ tails and mew with confidence of being heard. You will be entertained by sound and color and your toes. You will come up with your own names for the larger beings. You will know secrets set aside for survivors.

But today, you know all that is needed. Somebody set you in a sanctuary. Somebody chose to cherish a moon-child with no name. Somebody placed you in a palm that will not let you fall.

Welcome to love, Io.

Dearest supporters, you are the only reason Io and his family will thrive. Please give to our Cherish the Kittens Fund Drive so the next little moon can live in love’s orbit. Your gift will only be doubled through May 17th.

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