Cat Diary


The cat keeps staring at the corner.
He’s been there forever, listening.
Okay, he gets up to eat and shit
but he always goes back
to that corner in the bedroom.
He just stares.
My girlfriend, Staci,
there’s a word she likes:
I can’t touch him
or talk to him.
Freaks him out.
I put my ear to the wall
but can’t hear anything
except my pulse in my head.
Sounds like footsteps,
sounds like.
I can’t sleep there
when he’s staring like that.
Freaks me out.
The streetlight comes
through the window,
make his eyes glow.
Casts shadows, too.
His head is enormous
across the ceiling.
I sleep on the sofa.

I called her up.
Staci, I mean,
with an i,
like a stripper.
She’s in Tampa again.
Some poetry thing.
A conference maybe?
I don’t believe in that shit.
You should see the cat,
I told her.
I’m in Tampa she says.
He’s doing this thing.
What? Like a trick?
No. No. He just stares at the wall,
in the corner, near the bed.
Cats do that she said.
I hear coughing.
Is someone with you?
He’s been like that
since you left. Two weeks.
Is he okay?
I guess, I dunno I said,
He still eats and he still shits
but the rest of the time
he just stares at the wall.
I can hear her breath
like panting.
Yeah, look I have to go.
But the cat.
I don’t know. Try the vet.
There’s a workshop soon
she almost whispered.
That’s some long
fucking conference I told her.
She hung up.

A buddy of mine, he said,
Could be a mouse in the wall.
Oh yeah?
Yeah, cats have amazing ears.
Hear stuff through walls, no problem.
They hear four times better than us.
I thought,
that is a very specific number.
I hope it’s a mouse he said.
There are worse things than mice
to have in your walls.

I got up this morning
and the cat was dead.
I left it for awhile
then put it in a
garbage bag and
threw it in the bin.
Heavier than you’d think.
I haven’t heard from Staci.
That conference must’ve
been something special.
Fuck her, I guess.
Some poet probably did.
I’m sleeping in the bedroom again.
The sofa hurt my back.
Put a plant in the corner.
I sleep better now
but it’s weird.
Just before I drift off at night
I swear I hear the doorbell
or someone knocking
but, like, from a long way off.
I never check.
That plant is starting to
freak me out.

-Jeff Parent