There was something wrongwith the animals:
their tails were too long, and they had
Then they started coming together,
little by little
fitting together to make a landscape,
developing birthmarks, grace, flight.
But the cat,
only the cat
turned out finished,
born in a state of total completion,
it sticks to itself and knows exactly what it wants.
Men would like to be fish or fowl,
snakes would rather have wings,
and dogs are would-be lions.
Engineers want to be poets,
flies emulate swallows,
and poets try hard to act like flies.
But the cat
wants nothing more than to be a cat,
and every cat is pure cat
from its whiskers to its tail,
from sixth sense to squirming rat,
from nighttime to its golden eyes.
Nothing hangs together
quite like a cat:
neither flowers nor the moon
It’s a thing by itself,
like the sun or a topaz,
and the elastic curve of its back,
which is both subtle and confident,
is like the curve of a sailing ship’s prow.
The cat’s yellow eyes
are the only
for depositing the coins of night.
emperor without a realm,
conqueror without a homeland,
diminutive parlor tiger, nuptial
sultan of heavens
roofed in erotic tiles:
when you pass
in rough weather
four nimble paws
on the ground,
of all earthly things
to the cat’s immaculate paw),
the touch of love in the air.
O freelance household
vestige of night,
O fathomless cat,
of human chambers
of burnished velvet!
Surely there is nothing
in your manner,
maybe you aren’t a mystery after all.
You’re known to everyone, you belong
to the least mysterious tenant.
Everyone may believe it,
believe they’re master,
to a cat,
some cat’s colleague,
disciple or friend.
But not me.
I’m not a believer.
I don’t know a thing about cats.
I know everything else, including life and its archipelago,
seas and unpredictable cities,
the pistil and its scandals,
the pluses and minuses of math.
I know the earth’s volcanic protrusions
and the crocodile’s unreal hide,
the fireman’s unseen kindness
and the priest’s blue atavism.
But cats I can’t figure out.
My mind slides on their indifference.
Their eyes hold ciphers of gold