restricted access Westbound: Little Cat Feet

From: Skandalon

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34 Westbound Little Cat Feet A universe of near-unendurable suffering, in which our fate is to receive pain rejoicingly in order to receive more pain. The man in the light rail car is bleeding from the chin. By now it’s just an ooze, but his face and shirt are stained. There is something—what?—peculiar about his cheerfulness, an electrical storm rolling over the prairie of his hippocampus. What do you do for a living, he asks, and, told, asks it again. I’m bloody, he says. Bicycle. And he points where it hangs From a rack. It’s mine. I’m restoring it. What do you do for a living? I like poems. This one’s my favorite: The cat comes in On little cat feet. You know it? The cat comes in. The bicycle hangs perfect on the rack, dusty, but well oiled and functional. Restoration? The arc of our lives carries us forward, its pace controlled by an invisible metronome. He says that boys Laughed at him when he fell. I said Fuck You. What do you do for a living? His hands worry the thickening blood On his neck. I like that poem too, I say, but it’s fog: the fog comes in on little cat feet. He frowns, thinking. Yes, he says, the cat Comes in on little cat feet, and he slouches his shoulders, arms out, creeping in the air. See? It makes an image in my mind. When the prophet Elisha entered Bethel, the little children mocked his baldness, and, the Bible tells us, he turned back, And looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord. And there came forth two she-bears out of the wood, and tore Forty and two children of them. His bloodied hands shake. We are going somewhere. It makes an image in my mind. ...


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