Hobbes

(from Night of a Thousand Blossoms)

For he can leap, but he doesn’t bother with that too much—
mostly he sleeps or chatters in the windows at birds out on
the wires. I maintain that he is worthless, some misbegotten
kin to a possum, and in fact he came from a bad litter, a bad
neighborhood. There’s something not right about him. How
then to name him Hobbes, as my son did, though I lobbied for
Meatloaf? We have an understanding. I don’t make Hobbes
out to be more than he is: just some wild thing with an impossibly
tiny brain and no morals. For his part, he ignores me unless he
thinks I have food. I enjoy the purity of this contract, for it guides
me in my dealings with humans, which are few, at any rate, but
without much surprise or disappointment now that I’ve learned
not to expect others to be better than I am myself, now that I’ve
stopped raging at everyone else’s smallness. We get what we
deserve, mostly. I won’t say I learned this from a cat, I won’t
try to make a tidy moral—nothing sweet or cloying. For he can
entertain himself by staring at the wall or licking his body parts,
which acts afford him great pleasure and from which I can derive no
honest instruction. And he brings grief and terror to the household
spiders, whom I have always liked, and so he places me in
an unsupportable position, a soft neutrality which ensures peace
in no corner, justice for none but the strong. My dream is to one day
be young and strong and garlanded with justice. Let the dead bury
the dead, let the sparrows and starlings compose their conga-lines
out on the boughs and conduits—it just might be a world without end,
feral and imperfect, though I admit I want to own it, I want to touch it,
I want to curl up in it and sleep in it forever, as though I am loved for
something beyond my control or choosing, as though even the dust
over my eye is what I am dreaming and I know exactly what it means.

 

 

Poems from Night of a Thousand Blossoms :

Green
I Am Not a Keeper of Sheep
The Persimmon Bough
There were Footsteps in the Garden