Yesterday evening a relative shows up after dinner
And tells her story, a deep story, a sad story,
Her cat, her dear long-time companion, is now gone,
Downed by cancer, this cat an old cat, its cancer operable,
But what would be the use, it would keep life going
Only for a week or two, just time to say goodbye,
Then a hard death, such an affliction, and what
Would be gained from such an infliction: more pain,
More grief, less money, so I chose to put the quite sick,
Beat up, soon-to-die-anyway old cat down. Done.
Then grieving relative walks away, with a sadness weighing
Down her heavy steps, but soon she comes right back,
A bounce in her gait, a proud smile on her well
Satisfied lips, eyes bright with signs of new ownership,
For she has in her arms a new cat, and what a cat
That cat is, in its lounging stretch, four or five feet long,
Its fur elegantly well coifed variegated silvery sheen
Ruffled over slightly softer silver background fur,
And the belly creamy off-white pampered stretch of ease,
And eyes holding a dream hauteur that commands us without
Even noticing us, so we bow, and scrape the floor, and
Just barely restrain ourselves from cheering, or weeping,
Or whatever it is one does when a royal shows up,
And the bearer of the cat says simply: She’s only a
Kitty, just imagine what’s to come, I love her so,
And I’ll be so good to her, she will have to be good to me.
And the cat yawns, and I start coughing up a fit, my throat
Tickled raw by the finest of just shed cat fur, and I,
Stunned and staggered, indicate the cat will have to leave,
Have to be scooted quickly out of our home.
I can’t take it, I am allergic to this cat at least, away with it.
And my relative, without any concern says: And why the cat?
Why not you? And the cat lifts its lovely head, cozy’s into
Its bearer’s arms, purrs softly, and blinks out, with remarkable
Confidence, with an assured surety, from bejeweled eyes: Yes, why not you?
–by Ken McKeon
Enjoyed this. It brought me into that twisted world…that ‘Hunger Games’ society where things are bazaar, a little off at first – the familiar doesn’t quite connect correctly — and then there’s a seismic reordering. It’s not the world that’s ‘cracked’ it’s me, suddenly I’m out in the cold. Things are not as I knew them, as I thought they were… I’m now lost.
The cat’s cold and impersonal accusatory stair… why not you? The agreement of others. Now I am part of it all! Just as complicit in my cold cruelty. Off with his head!