Stretched in the sunlight
crowning Calypso’s shore
the big cat dozed,
small blue crabs drown
in a capsized silver urn, cream
filled and slopping beside him.
Why long for plump
tuna steak and cheesecake
crumbs when Apollo
scratches behind your ears
and no storm clouds
threaten tender olive saplings
with shaking? That
rural, stone hearth
plucked from the heart
of the hill your paws pounded
daily is miles away.
Waves lick gingerly
against the pebbly shore
the lambent royal blue of
Penelope’s summer dress.
He is still listless as
he is lifted up by
roughened driftwood hands
and tossed back into the sea.
for Suzie, Aaron, and Bill
1. good dreams that never want to wake up
2. best friends, unconditional love
3. music only cats can hear
4. rosemary that refuses to stop growing
5. all the stories you want to read
6. all the hours you want back
7. the grey storm streaked with lightning
8. the soft sounds
It’s late at night and we’re snuggling in bed.
Me: I love you. I’m so glad you’re my best friend.
Mr. J: You’re my best friend too. You and Tiny Rick. Except for when Rick sneezes in my whiskey. Which happens more than it should.
(Explanation: Tiny Rick has feline immunodeficiency virus so he coughs and sneezes a lot. In spite of this he’s an amazingly friendly and loving cat. But he also loves torturing Mr. J by sneezing in his alcohol.)
Mr. J (opens the door to go to work): Hey there’s a new cat outside!
(We live in an apartment complex with lots of stray cats.)
Mr. J: Yeah!
Me: Yeah (Not the happy, enthusiastic “yeah” but the uncomfortable, defeated “yeah” of a person who all cats know will do anything for them and will ultimately suffer the displeasure of her inside feline overlords because the outside cat made big eyes at her yesterday and she doesn’t know how long she’ll be able to go without paying homage to the outside cat by giving him/her the inside feline overlords’ treats. And once they find out I’m giving an outside cat treats there will be HELL TO PAY!)
Me (again): Yeah.
Disclaimer: Mr. J loves my cats. But he came into my life many years after they did. They were here first. They don’t understand why he’s here now. They hate him. He does not understand why they hate him, or rather he does but he doesn’t care. Also, we are both vulgar people and swear at our pets just as much as they swear at us in cat language. No cat feelings or human feelings were harmed.
We were watching Master Chef.
Me: Describe the spirit of Tiny Rick if he were food.
Mr. J: A really good stew that you crack a raw egg all over at the last minute.
Mr. J: Because he sneezes all over everything.
Me: Okay, what about Leela?
Mr. J: Tiramisu but you dumped the entire jar of cinnamon over it.
Mr. J: Because the core is good but if you scrape away the top it’s just overwhelming and slightly annoying.
Me: Okay, Titian?
Mr. J: Chocolate pudding. Because she’s a fat piece of shit and slightly runny.
Note: Titain weighs 18.5 lbs. which is big for an American shorthair.
Me: Why do you think you’re automatically entitled to a piece of everything I eat?
Leela: (screams louder)
Me: Oh, right…
Mr. J: I remember what Titian reminds me of! She’s like a fluffy version of that half human, half xenomorph the queen gave live birth to in the fourth movie. You know, the one that got sucked out the crack in the window!
Me: What?! She looks nothing like that! It doesn’t even have fur!
Mr. J: I said a fluffy version. I mean, look at her face.
Me: That is terrible! Do not say that!
Mr. J: And they are both mostly toothless…
Me: Shut the fuck up!