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My cat is not a Cheshire cat

My cat is not a Cheshire cat

who appears and vanishes at will

In fact, Kitten is very real, tottering just this side of the rainbow bridge

a 16-and-a-half year old survivor of a feral beginning

of a surrender to the Humane Society at three

of whatever somebody did with a broom to terrify her

she wears the notch on her right ear with pride

all day she sits in the polka-dot chair she has claimed

against the far wall

she is completely deaf

my eyes are no longer trustworthy

most times when I come in the front door

a pair of green eyes

blinks toward me with curiosity

she stares to see what I’m going to do next

sometimes she just watches my feet

mostly she yawns with her whole mouth

and curls up to sleep again

my cat does not have a lingering smile

what I will miss when she’s gone

is her presumptive takeover of whatever

body part of mine is most appealing to her

right now, she is on top of half of my left foot,

her paws comfortably crossed before her

when I get up I will hear that old-lady harumph-meow

she has perfected

she goes out for a few minutes for a wobbly stroll

on my second-floor-apartment walkway

getting her back in elicits a reedy, disgruntled litany of complaints

until she remembers

the food, the water, my body heat, the comfy polka-dot chair

I will remember the blinks, her warmth, her supposed indifference

that masks our shared goal to triumph another day together

c2022, Lesley Salas


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