You don’t have to have the cat.
(You nearly didn’t have the cat.)
Anyone knows that a kitten doesn’t come at midnight,
Isn’t delivered by an anxious (yet hopeful) teenage boy.
It is a miracle that the cat made it to you.
He hissed. Spit. Even fought off a dog.
One pound of black and white fur. Toothpick ribs. Requisite pink nose.
(Part peace offering. Part bribe.)
The cat is in your house.
Where he climbs your (wholly forgiving) daughter like a tree
Scatters his catnipped mice like calico acorns
Breaks antique china plates, shattering their faded violets.
But tonight, when you foolishly list the things you don’t have,
Remember, always, this–
You don’t have to have the cat,
The solace of his soft weight when all else is lost.
When understanding cannot–
is not ever to–