Monday, May 21, 2018

Quarter-Life Poems: The Cat Lady

The Cat Lady


In the morning
the cats at the windowsill
yawn
and twitch their pink noses
The warm sun rays
soak into the tips of their fur
until they glow
like golden ghosts.

Inside
the house
are more
cats

(on the back of chairs
and on empty shelves)

Inside the house
is a woman
sitting in a chair.
She looks at her hands
withered like a September plum
left out in the summer sun

She thinks
of everything she touched with her hands
all the places she has left her fingerprints
the plates and hand railings and door knobs
she had temporarily marked
with the swirling map of her finger tip

She thinks
of all the hands
she has ever shook.
Hands of friends
and strangers she would never see again.
When she was young
she use to press her palm
against the cheeks of all those she loved.

Now her hands connected with cats
their fur underneath her palm
their wet noses pressing against her finger tips.
She gently scratches the tops of their heads
They purr and look at her with pleased yellow eyes.

One of her cats never meows.
Instead he whispers her name
in the exact voice
of someone she knew long ago.
She is afraid of the cat with the human whisper.
But she must keep him too.
She knows that inside of him is a ghost
and she can't bare to leave the ghost behind.

Someday, a stranger will knock on her door.
When she opens it, all her cats
will run toward the fresh air.
Cats she almost forgot about
will run from underneath the couch
or from almost empty rooms
out the door
where they will feel the hot cement
or prickle of long blades of grass
press against their soft paws.
All her cats will leave her,
except one
the last cat will rub against her leg
his tail slightly twitching.
He will look up at her
and lightly whisper her name.

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