Generation Gap

Generation Gap

Kimberly; a. k. a. Fuzzyface; age 3.
Pure alley, regal, long tawny fur,
white feet and ruff,
featherlight expressive tail.
Queen of the House.
Lady of all she surveys
(except for those two stupid dogs –
how could I have signed on
in a place that would tolerate
such an inferior species?
Dear Ptah.)
All of which does not prevent Majesty
from going along when Charlotte
and Miucha go for late-night walks.
I mean: exploring is exploring, right?
And one can’t leave it to those bimbos
to do it right, being on a leash and all.
So We will Deign to Accompany
and Demonstrate How to Smell
(from time to time, moreover,
We will go nuts Ourselves,
dashing up a tiny tree
like some enormous squirrel.
We are Adult, of cawss,
but three years is not eternity,
and We were once Ourselves
a Yellow Comet of a Kitten.

Nina; age six weeks (?), or so;
short hair, gray with darker stripes,
a hint of leopard on the belly?
From some allée également distingué,
loud purr, no blinking notion
of the term “respect” (wazzat?) –
an ashen blitz attacking lampcord,
shoelace, finger, feet –
anything that moves.
Brash, airborne, endless curiosity
and fire, got the devil in her,
skidding round linoleum corners,
blasting off to God knows where.

Encounters of the First Kind.
Disbelief. Eyes widened.
Who let that into my château?
The Royal Hiss. Claws shown.
A low continuous mutter.
Tropical storm Elvira
just over the horizon.

What’s this? More cat? Hot dang.
Finally some action around here.
Those other barking snuffling things –
Yeeesh. Ya wanna see ugly?
But this one, smells right,
she know how to play?
WOOOOOOPS! SSSSS!! Guessss not.
ExCUUUSE me, yer royal fatso.

Encounter of the Second Kind.
What?! ‘It’ is still here? In my demesne?
Has no one thought to see it out?
Well, I shan’t. Lord knows,
I have enough to do around the house.
Perhaps the dogs will eat it.

Aaaah come off it, ya big bag of fur.
Don’t give me this lady stuff –
a little goes a long way with me,
thank you very much.
Besides! Look at this pencil,
how it rolls!! Whee! Yaaaarawooowissshhh.
Pat pat pat wurra wurra wurra gdzong!

Third Kind.
Well, it is a cat.
With dogs leading 2 – 1,
it’s any cat in a storm.
I shall Condescend to sniff its nose.
It may admire the Royal Person,
from an appropriate distance.

I’m just here.
Play with ya – wanna?
You have great big teeth and claws.
I don’t know why I’m here.
Do you?

I’ll sniff noses.
And rub my cheek
against this paper.
And flop down on the floor.
I would like to play, and also not.
Protocol must be observed.
So I will go tsack tsack,
claws retracted, if it touches me.
Surely it knows
that even Queens must rest.

I knew you’d come around.
(I think I knew.)

And now the unknown semiotics
of cats’ tails, that language
that we can only guess at.
Lifting tail, prrrt
Come in, I’m open –
Then: eyes of fire, twitching:
Who do you think you are?
Then just plain longing for a pal.

This back and forth and back
the subtlest feline minuet –
I know that there are those
who doubt that fuzzies think:
I guess they just had never seen
the play performed when two cats met.

Haj Ross

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