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 that his calmness is my confusion,
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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