Being City-Dwellers And Therefore
The smaller cat has caught a rat. Good on you,
I say, smaller cat. Caught a rat that would otherwise
be eating my oatmeal. Now put it down. Well of course
the cat doesn’t put the rat down, the cat doesn’t do anything I say.
Eventually I do my dishes as usual in the bathroom sink as usual
and I look down into the faucet and there’s the cap
of a toothpaste bottle far down there, close enough to see
but too far to reach. It’ll probably stay right there
till the building’s torn down like the one next door.
There are construction workers in it clearing the debris and they use
modern ploys to hoot at women, like “Miss, you are a beautiful
New Yorker. My friend here thinks so too but I wanted
to tell you that.” His boots are hard and heavy.
There was a guy on the train with a cowboy hat and cowboy boots
and a vest which read Federation of Black Cowboys.
His beard was shot with steel-wool fibers of silver
and he had little, dark eyes, not unlike a wolf’s
and very unlike a cow’s. His eyes were on his hands
he had a candy bar in his hands and he was breaking it
into pieces, little pieces, and putting each
in his mouth like this. But his eyes every so often
would lift to the dark windows where sometimes there are lights
but sometimes not. Well I look out the door and the cat
is nowhere to be found but the rat is torn in half,
small body and twisting tail here in the hallway, head
and little forearms resting peacefully in the living room.
The bigger cat walks in and looks at me. Don’t look at me,
he says. Don’t look at me either, I say. Let’s not
look at anyone, we say. I take a shower.