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David Kirby

BPR 48 | 2021

Sorry about the accidents. I know you didn’t kill me
for that, though. When I heard you say you’d “put me down,”
I knew it was because I couldn’t jump up on the counter
anymore and bat that foil bag of treats with my paw—
hell, I could barely drag myself to the door. Did you notice?
Of course you did. You were wonderful to me. And I loved
you back, though it seemed undignified to say so. Hence
the disdain, the inability to look you in the eye, the quick leap
off the bed when you put me there because you wanted
to lie down with me and cuddle. I wanted to cuddle, too,
so much that it would have killed you if you’d known.
All day I dreamt of sleeping on your belly while your bladder
filled to the point of bursting and you thought, I can hold it,
can’t get up, can’t wake the kitty. I didn’t hunt those birds
because I disliked them. I chased them down because
I had to do something while you were at work to keep
my love from driving me crazy. And if the birds died, that
was at least partly their fault: why did they have to flutter
and flap so much? Why couldn’t the birds be like lizards?
The lizards played dead when I took them in my jaws,
and when I dropped them at your feet, they sprang to life
and ran behind the refrigerator, where they died anyway.
I got fat as I got older, but so did you. Why didn’t
my brother Percy get fat? He ate his food and mine, too,
and never gained an ounce. Percy was too stupid to get fat.
And his manners were terrible: he’d take a big shit right
in the middle of the garden. I’d be under the plumerias
hissing, “Percy! Percy! People are watching!” and he’d just
keep going plop-plop-plop, like he was getting paid for it.
Then there’s my coat. God, it’s beautiful. I kept it clean,
didn’t I? That man you live with would say, “Ha, ha,
she’s cleaning her coat again” or “For God’s sake, stop
cleaning your coat!” but there was always one more bit
of leaf or dirt that he couldn’t see, though I could. And often
I couldn’t see anything at all, though I knew something
was there: some flaw, some imperfection, a blemish
of one kind or another. We all have blemishes.
Not you, though. Sometimes Percy and I would sit
shoulder to shoulder and wait for you to get out
of the shower, and when you did, Percy would tilt
his head as though to say, “You look better in clothes,”
or “You need to start going to the gym again,” whereas
I just stared at you. I just looked. And I loved what I saw.