When I Look At My Cat

When I look at my cat

I see the many cats I’ve known before

Our black cat who spoke in its own sentences

The marmalade tabby our neighbor took on walks

The fearless stray whose face folded in on itself

The sweet hunter arranging dead birds on our porch

I see the fictions of others

Alice’s Dinah, the first story read to me

Kipling’s cat who walked by himself

The bold rhymer who travelled to London

I see my own search for stillness in motion

For purity and purpose in action

I see my fear of things being different

My starting suddenly over noises

Insisting loudly on my own hungers

And I realize his calmness is my projection

That he lives his life in search of the things

I imagine he already has

And I find myself looking at him

Envying what I am trying to be

When it is not part of him at all

And that is when I know

That when I look at my cat

I see everything

But him

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