See this innocent face? She’s been one of us for five years. It’ll be five on March 15th. Our 15-year old daughter, Layla, wanted her.
She was the one cat that chased after us at the shelter.
Layla named her Purrsimmon, after my favorite fruit to eat, Persimmon. On our way out of the shelter, we were handed her birth certificate, 8/23, Layla’s date of birth. She was just meant to be ours.
The only time she comes to me is if we’re home alone. When there’s no one else to be affectionate with, she’ll settle for me, I guess!
She’ll knock the phone out of my hand with her head. Or, she’ll walk all over the keyboard. If I’m watching a movie she’ll come to sit on my chest and put her face in my face, and whichever way I turn she’ll turn.
If I’m doing the dishes she’ll sit on the side of the sink and paw-splash in the water.
If I’m reading she’ll hold the book down for me. If I’m writing? She has a thing for pencil erasers.
She sits there by the bathtub waiting for me to come out so she can lick water drops off my legs while I’m drying myself. She gets mad if I close the door or come out dry! “You’re dry already?”
When I water the plants, and there are about 11 planters all over, she follows along scooping water with her tongue as I pour it.
Only when it’s just the two of us. And if she comes to me while the others are around it’s only if I’m not feeling well, sad or sick.
This started last Sunday. At 5 am she jumped on my nightstand and knocked my water bottle down. I had forgotten to put the cap on. My phone and tablet now sitting in a huge puddle of water. There was nothing around to rescue my phone except what I was wearing. And she was standing there looking at me.
See, the best sleep is the last hour or two of the night. So, aggravated, I grabbed something else to wear, had to go pee, and on my way back to bed I heard a big bang, glass on glass coming from the dining room. She was standing there looking to see my reaction! She had knocked down a large glass vase, water and flowers all over the place. Mind you, it’s a glass-top table. Nothing broken, picked up the vase with one hand and the flowers with the other. Put that back together in the kitchen. Cleaned the dining table, wiped the chairs.
From the minute she spilled the water on my nightstand and until I was done cleaning the mess in the dining room, not even 7 minutes had passed.
She has done this, same time, same sequence, for 3 nights in a row. I got rid of the vase and flowers. I didn’t want her breaking glass and hurting herself.
The one time, about a year ago, we changed her food, it took me a week to notice she didn’t like it. She’d follow me around budding my ankles with her head and meowing loud, otherwise, she’s very quiet.
So, what is this new thing this week? What is she trying to tell me?
I cannot Quite see the student asking it, but it’s deep-voiced And challenging and I assume it’s a guy.
Because I want to rub music and language together and gawk at the flames, I say.
Because poetry, if it takes fire, cracks people’s masks, and assaults arrogance, and sucks you beneath the surface of words toward why we use them.
Because we have been singing before there ‘were’ words and it’s healthy to remember that.
Because the great poems are about you and me both And there is damned little we will be able to discuss in the normal flow of the river and it’s good for both of us to stand together quietly for a while in a poem.
Because why the hell not ?
What is it exactly that we Should count as time better spent ?
You cannot spare Two minutes for a poem? Sure, it might be pompous Arty muck, and you demand your two minutes back,
But what if it isn’t ?
What if it shivers you,
or startles you awake,
or makes you weep remembering a time When you sang all day too, and everything was made Of music and light and colors and slabs of shimmer ?
WHAT IF, brother — that’s my answer to your question.
~ Brian Doyle, How The Light Gets In: And Other Headlong Epiphanies
*Inspired by: “Estimates of how long it has been since humans began speaking vary from 80,000 to a half-million years. BUT we’ve known how to write for scarcely 6,000 years.” From Probing the mystery of how human language began. And it makes me wonder when within the 6000 years we, humans, started writing poetry!