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 back step

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

For purity and purpose in action

I see my fear of things being different

My starting suddenly over noises

Insisting loudly on my own hunger

And I realize his calmness is a mask

That he lives in restless 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 even there to begin with

And that is when I know 

That when I look at my cat

I see everything

But him

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