The Book Life


April 18, 2010

I can’t write a poem about cats.
I don’t go to the zoo to see the tigers. I get bored at the zoo,
and tigers don’t enter my life in any other situations;
I have never been to Africa. If I went to Africa,
I would like to see the tigers, could maybe write about them then.

Once a cat slept on my face, woke me before dawn
after clawing my legs all night. The smell from its litter box
drove me from the room.

Once a cat made friends with me,
but I submitted only under duress,
undue influence from my boyfriend at the time,
to whom this cat belonged. It was more of a treaty
than a friendship, really – she twined around my ankles,
unfortunately adorable, until I consented to pet her,
awkwardly, because I’m uncomfortable with insincere emotional displays,
and I just don’t like cats.

[PROMPT: Write a poem featuring a member of the cat family, big or small.]