Miles Walser: Oxford Comma the Cat Talks Back

Oxford Comma the Cat Talks Back
after Megan Fulley

Jesus Christ, Miles. Could you have given me a snobbier name?
Imagine you were named after a punctuation mark:
everyone too busy laughing to bend down to pet you.
I am more than a pause, you bastard. I am an exquisite cuddler.
I’m the best at sitting right between you and the words of a book,
a delicate reminder of what really matters.
Without me, who would lick the peanut butter
from your oatmeal bowls before you were finished?

I don’t understand why I’m living in your mom’s house now.
Sure, she buys me the tastier food
from that TV commercial with the pretty tinkling bell noises,
and yeah, those stairs I get to climb up and down
really are doing great things for my figure.

Okay, so you were headed off for a grand adventure —
mountains and skyscrapers and a new love — human things.
My adventure will always be sitting in a windowsill,
keeping watch on these pesky birds.
I cannot understand why you need to leave.
Cats feel attached to place. I am happy so long as I’m home.

It’s not just that you go, Miles. It’s that you refuse to believe it matters.
I’ve watched you dart from place to place as if you do not have footprints,
a breeze running through everyone’s hair.
You have convinced yourself that you are an empty
soda can rolling down the sidewalk, somebody’s leftovers,
but you are my favorite plaything.
You’re even better than the shiny fish on the pink string
I got too excited about and chewed through.

You know, Miles. Cats never forget.
I’ll remember you when you’re ninety and I’m still a young seven
(I’ll be on my fifth or six life, but we both know I’ll stay fresh.)
And I guess when you come home you can share the couch with me.
This will always be your home,
no matter how many cities unroll like a tail behind you.

Silly human boy. Don’t you know you’re the laser I am always chasing after?
I notice when the red light disappears, and am forever waiting
for it to come back.

~Miles Walser


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