To have a cat
in the basement, perched
on the green towel we cover the treadmill with
because she has a habit of
throwing up on the black track
as we do
not to run on it,
while I am am up here
in the clouds
my head, that is,
up in the clouds like a
whatever unpredictable plans
the future has in
not like a four-year-old
rather, a writer
I am a writer
whose head is
up in the
trying to reflect, reject
for my character to kill another
A writer, who imagines she
can hear her cat
She is no longer eating so I buy
Beechnut baby food—beef with broth
Chicken. I boil a bony thigh.
I tell the man at the seafood counter that I am trying to keep my cat alive
“Even the farm-raised salmon is $16.99 a pound? Wow, that’s expensive.”
“It is,” he admits with the surety of a man who knows what things should cost.
He slides a hefty fillet off the ice as if rescuing it from danger
And severs a fractional slice of pink flesh
swirls of fat and bone,
and places it atop a piece of butcher paper, white—is it still called butcher paper,
if one is weighing cold-blooded muscle?
Yes, I really do wonder about this for less time than it takes me to
breathe in one breath,
—air, not water
before he hands me the package, wrapped, and light, and now magically costing
$12.99 a pound.
A deal for a
I eat the chicken on top of a salad.
The dear salmon is, regrettably, forsaken.
A few licks of Beechnut calms my worry, but only for so long.
I am beside her, reminiscing. She is struggling to listen,
to stay present, I can tell, but still I talk.
“Bluestar,” I say, “you have had a great life.
The animal rescue
found you strutting down Amsterdam Avenue
in a snowstorm. All your whiskers
had been cut
and you were pregnant!
They called you Sophie.
As if you, Warrior leader of the ThunderClan,
could have ever been a Sophie.”
She nods, as if remembering that hard time
in the city twelve years gone.
Not really, but I continue on as if we are two old friends
One of us in a hospital bed,
connected to machinery, but knowing
time is short.
The other, in a chair, worrying hands
wanting to remake the bed because
the sheets are tangled
and no one should die without smooth sheets.
Or a life that did not include:
I lay her atop a blue rug atop a metal table
Like a piece of salmon
She purrs as the doctor—she’s pregnant and for this I am gladdened—pushes
A needle into her fur while, inches away, the faces on the phone
My family, her family, the child and the man
Who happen to be in the city
Her birth city
Watch and cry and we three cry together
Bluestar beneath my hand, her chest rising slowly slowly
Falling slowly slowly
The purrs diminish
I remove my hand, still warm
and open the door.