My dog won’t wear a hat, so she
Is staying here at home with me.
The party’s started, up the tree,
But if she has a hat, it’s wee–
By which I mean it’s hard to see
Because it’s small, not made of pee—
And dogs don’t party sans chapeau;
The cat, though, has a hat. She’ll go.
My sweet, expired kitty cat
Is haunting me. It’s either that
Or she bequeathed her favorite flea
To me in perpetuity.
She must have known I’d not be bored
So long as there’s a hopping horde
Of parasites to raise a toast
To me, their most congenial host.
Deploying seven cans of Raid
Brand fogger would, I thought, put paid
To all the open flea accounts,
But not so much. The interest mounts
As does their interest in my feet
And ankles. How does one defeat
An enemy whose tiny size
Means freckles make a fine disguise?
I glance and slap and gouge my shin;
Turns out it’s only melanin
In clumps upon my dermis, while
Behind my knee the vermin smile.
Listen: Can you hear the purr
Of my late cat? It’s thanks to her
Alone is what I’ll never be.
Excuse me, time to feed the flea.
Let’s both go off the grid tonight:
Unplug the dog, turn out the light,
Wrap foil ’round our private parts
And mime until the madness starts.
They always find us in the end,
But ’til they do, we’ll just pretend
There’s only you and only me.
(And if the cat reboots, that’s three.)
We’ll never tell the things we did
The night we both went off the grid.
They’re boarding up the cathouse on our street.
These sixteen years the institution’s thrived,
Enshrouded now in fog borne on the feet
Of she from whom the nickname was derived.
A passerby no whisker would have turned;
It looked to be an ordinary house
And just by happenstance might one have learned
That here lived one who’d terrify a mouse.
Not that a rat had anything to fear
From she who reigned within, but reputation
Counts for much, as Puss-in-Boots made clear,
And rare were they who’d risk Julification.
She sleeps tonight upon the very spot
Where calicos all go, before they’re not.
A pulsing mass of matted hairs
Has spread across my wrist, but there’s
No cause for worry or alarm:
The cat’s just sleeping on my arm.
A what’s-it-called, you know, that flattish thing
That lives inside itself, like in a tank
Or caravan? The one that doesn’t sing
Although it has a beak? That thing that sank
Because it doesn’t swim? That wasn’t it
But almost could have been; they’re very like,
So much they could be cousins,
Just a bit
More three-dimensional. Once, on a hike,
I saw the thing it isn’t on a rock
And screamed so loud you thought I’d been attacked
And then you laughed because I’d such a shock
I dropped my aviators and they cracked?
Well, anyway, the thing that isn’t that?
A snapping one is hanging from your cat.
Washing dishes, clothes, the cat,
My day’s been filled with tasks like that.
Now my dry utensils hate me.
How my tidy whites berate me
‘Cause I’ve made ’em clean and pretty!
Not my cat, though. Happy kitty!