Humans are a foreign species.
A distinctly separate,
They do things so differently.
It’s my job to help my human
get more in touch
with her inner animal —
but she is reluctant to learn
the ways of the wild.
She owns a copy
of Women Who Run
With the Wolves,
but she’s not fooling me.
It’s not really wildness she seeks,
but rather a safe, baby step just slightly off the beaten path.
Each morning is the same. She shuffles out of that room,
the one in which I am not allowed at night
(which is, by the way, the best part of the day)
and grabs a long rubbery plaything
but instead of surrendering to the Zen moment
and batting it around aimlessly,
she sticks the end of it into a hole in the wall.
Nothing good ever seems to come out of this hole,
no mice or grubs or spiders to stare at
and occasionally paw with feigned indifference.
But this hole possesses some sort of magical energy,
turning a vessel of cold water into a curious hot brown substance
which steams very nicely. This never fails to attract my attention
— curiosity is one of my fatal flaws, after all — but it smells absolutely putrid
and I fall for it every time: take a big, slow sniff … gag and sneeze.
Then she wastes a big splash of cream, glorious cream,
on this stinky brown muck
when she could be lapping that nectar of the gods
straight from her dish.
Life Lesson No. 1, silly human:
Always pour the cream directly into the cat’s bowl.
Later, when the time seems ideal for stretching, napping, licking, licking
and more napping, she darts around the house, picking up lifeless objects,
putting them down in other places
with no apparent rhyme or reason to her roaming,
frequently lunging at a plastic device that emits a vulgar ringing noise —
evidently some kind of signal for humanspeak
which causes her to purr on command.
(We cats, unlike dogs — which are all, in a word, stupid —
refuse to do anything on command, even if it’s something
we really want to do, lest we give the impression
we are out to please anyone but ourselves.)
It saddens me that my human seems so … directionless.
Always in a hurry and getting nowhere.
Never allowing herself to slow down
and smell her neighbour’s butt.
“Put that down and come sit here by me,” my eyes implore.
“Stretch out on the couch, here by the window.”
I try to direct her to kitty’s best friend, the sunbeam,
but she’s not getting it. “Come, lie here with me.
We can lick each other’s ears.”
“Kitteeewannaagooutsiiiiiide?” she gushes,
heading — I can’t believe this — for the door.
Oh, the humiliation. What is wrong with her?
It’s time to lie down and lick our paws, lick our soft downy chests,
wash our sweet furry faces by licking our paws and rubbing them
on our sweet furry cheeks … but she is not comprehending this.
“Don’wannagooutsiiiide? How ’bout your squeaky mouse? Izzzzzat what you want?”
Please. Do not speak to me like I am a kitten.
I am trying to impart the wisdom of the ages,
show my human the meaning of life: eat, sleep, stretch, lick,
eat, stretch, find a warm lap, lick, lick, lick,
allow yourself to be petted, lick, lick, lick,
sleep, watch out for large dogs, fast cars
and rocking chairs.
And still she insists on talking down to me.
Doesn’t she see that I was put here to improve her life?
That my purpose here is to guide her to that place of least resistance:
total acceptance; self-love; self-licking.
I will not give up. She can be saved. Tomorrow I will engage her
in the ball-of-yarn game. Perhaps we will meditate together.
I will show her how to pick a spot halfway up the wall
and stare at it — just stare — as if we are watching a dancing spirit
that no one else can see.
I will teach her how to see it.