Cat Roaches

January 22, 2014 § 1 Comment

bedcats

Lovely walk today in the sun and snow, the park paths smooth and white, the sky bright blue, activity everywhere, the cold gnawing on my face. I wanted to walk a long time, but only managed the park and Citarella, pears and broccoli, salad greens. We’ve been inside without vegetables for a couple of days, because we’re pussies.

You’d think if I fed the cat bits of pork chop, on a plate on the floor, and he didn’t want it, I’d shrug and go on to other things. No. I put the greasy bits in the palm of my hand, sit on the couch and let him dine the way he prefers to.

“I’ve fed you by hand,” I said to Charles, who was laughing at us.

“I can’t remember when.”

“Fruit,” I said, “Berries, cherries.”

“That doesn’t really count. But it sounds nice—an orchard, summer—”

I was thinking of the grand feasts of our early days, eaten in bed. Delicious food was almost as exciting to us then as it is now to the cats. Before he met me, Charles didn’t live with anyone who cooked especially well, and I’d never had control of a kitchen before. It was vegetables and fruits we splurged on, not meats or cheeses or baked goods. Those were too expensive. When I was young, you could buy eggplants and peppers and squash for pennies, bags of fruit for a dollar.

California last week was a sweet break, perfect warm days, friends, family, Mom’s 89th birthday. If it weren’t for the droughts and fires, especially the fires, I might consider moving out there again. Fire scares me, far more than hurricanes or terrorist bombings. We were delayed on the way to the airport by the L.A. fire, and though it wasn’t a cause for alarm, it was unnerving.

We came home to thin cats. They’d been fed, but not the way we feed them. Mouchette bawled like a baby and Fitzroy growled and ran away from me. They got over it. They’re plump again now, like Handsel and Gretel.

I keep being reminded of all the stories I’ve read (fairytales & novels not newspaper accounts: reality is too much) about people kept hostage, kids especially, who don’t know there’s a whole world out there.

It’s not my fault my cats can’t go outside, but I do feel a bit like a mad jailer. And sometimes I feel like I’m the one in jail, and these creatures I imagine are pets are really pests, companions in filth and delusion.

There’s no doubt I’ve read too much fiction. My brain is pickled. I wish I had a boy to massage my feet and a coconut cupcake.

One of my poems, for a change–

Untitled

Inside the fake Chinese chest
painted with dragons
armloads of unfinished work.

The sheets slide like new snow over ice.
All the typewriters are junked now.

Why can’t I ever be done with it?

It must be that I didn’t know
what should happen in the story
about the librarian and the aging

hermaphrodite
or the poem with its mouth full of poppies
like the signature of a serial killer.

You didn’t want to know
because you couldn’t bear the truth

or I didn’t know.

This is still the wide-open place
with a scarlet comma
in the middle of the page.

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