WATCHING A CAT WATCHING THE SUN RISE
One early morning I couldn’t sleep
And I watched a cat
Watch the sun rise.
In the half-light
The cat was perched on a table by
The window, its ears like
Two triangles Euclid would be proud of
Separated by a tiny berm of thought
Planted on a curve of neck and
From the general blackness I saw
Emerge buildings, a mottled sky grow
Steel blue and orange,
The sheerness of frozen lines, planes.
I saw everything that was a city and not a cat
Come to life.
And the cat grew darker until a silhouette.
And I watched the cat watching, and
Wondered what the cat saw.
Perhaps a jumble of color and shape. Perhaps
But all set apart, as the cat was
Imprisoned by a window it knew it could not pass beyond.
It could see, but it could not poke its nose into
As, maddeningly, cats must.
It could pad desultorily around the room and
Sniff, it could scamper, lick itself.
But it could not move beyond.
How many greater frustrations than for
A cat at a window, watching it all transforming,
Or even just a minor miracle, and bruising its nose
If it moves forward?
What powers of separation do we who are not a cat
Fling up to prevent ourselves
From seeing what can and can’t be transformed?
From being with, and not just looking at?
My love, I was watching you too, sleeping,
As I was watching a cat watching the sun rise.