Tongue of the Cat
Tongue of the Cat
I had just returned to this old river house when I saw him. I walked the peninsula from the bus station to here, crossing over the river by way of the Silver Beach bridge. The day turned dark before I arrived. After walking beneath the beachside string of neon light promises, and having taken that bus ride through hammock towns and broken prairie on borrowed money, I was tired. I was tired but relieved, feeling free. It was one of those days of loose movement that can set you at ease, knowing it could have ended in the forever fashion.
Maybe I saw him coming. Maybe it was a chance meeting meaning nothing. I saw him from the steps where I rested. He was walking through the overgrown and shadow walled yard. I called him and he came, but not too close. He came no closer at first, and we sat and watched each other. Just testing each other and wondering.
She used to ask me as cautiously where some words come from. I couldn’t tell her then, and I’m not certain now. It’s always difficult to say for sure. But maybe I could ask this midnight cat, since, those quick words have come again.
In the night, when the mask falls away with the day’s last conceit, and we are again what we were darkly born to be, he can see between flickering lights and he can distinguish one shadow’s child from another. It’s when he will give you his tongue, and you find it is the tongue of the cat.
To the hungry ones wasting on a spider sting’s desire, he can scratch at their faces and claw at their wrists. He knows they would keep him from the first day’s light. And to the other ones, the ones who give what they have been given, the ones making what they were made to be, he gives up his neck and a purr. Rubbing against their legs, he shows a waking round faced turn when the world is neither love or life but newly born. He knows who can tell.
Sitting here now on this warped and broken dock that is as crooked as an old man’s finger, I watch him coming closer. He has been slowly making his way for awhile. He picks his steps through the crackling oysters and through the river grass tender in this breezy night. When I close my eyes I can see her driving through the snow burned mountains, a year’s frozen tears melting on her cheeks. She went and found herself a cabin. I left those shoulder-in mountains for lands of wide relief. And he is finally coming nearer. He weaves down the dock.
Sep/11/2011, 2:11 pm
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