“The Cat Playfully* Raised A Paw-Salute” Tanka 2227

(January 11, 2018)

QuickMarch to Downtown:

woman watching her cat pee,

both say ‘hi’ to me;

She was cloistered with her cup,

cat was without qualm or gile.

*(Do felines “cat-thropomorphize”? I know I anthropomorphize both cats and dogs…and with good reason: both have us well-trained. Just watch a human scurry to the door for either of its owners. In today’s example, the black-and-white cat eyed me frankly and raised a paw before turning to finish its toilette. The woman murmured her hello and held her coffee – tea – as if a ward for protection. The cat and I are well acquainted and I passed on a sotto voce me-ow with my learned-from-skeeterthecat low throat rumble and head-nodded back to the porch. I was but blocks from the library. I miss that Siamese Seal-Point. She was born on my camoflage-poncholiner blanket just about the time I got blown up in Vietnam, so her mom, Skeeter I, pesented her to me as I rested my weary head December 24, 1970, on my boyhood bed, reminding myself I must fix the broken front door: I had to bust my way in since no one was home. Mom and Dad were in Colorado, I learned when my younger brother came by later that day and noticed the front door askew. That was a weird day to start a weird week. All the cats – from a seal-point and a blue-point? but Skeeter II were gifted in a pair of months, but it was Skeeter I who with her mom – whom I brought through feline distemper just before I embarked on my year of post-graduate study at the University of Southeast Asia, I-Corps Campus headquartered in Danang. Tiger the yellow bent-tail cur came by to say hello and “feed me!” poking his happy nose into my room and sauntered past Skeeter I with her passel of brood in a cardboard box with cut strips of newspaper – with a grocery sack of new strips for twice – and sometimes thrice – daily changing. Tiger, being a gentleman, takes care of his own ablutions and keeps his amorous affairs – and results – out-of-doors in the nearby woods. Both mom and I long figured out his schtick: when he has a ladyfriend in “the family way” he cocks his head leftwards and trots off with a pancake after he rolls it into a log with his nimble nose and returns instanter from his well-traveled trail into the palmetto scrub for another serving…or seven. I don’t mind except when its waffles. Then I insist on a more equal division.)

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