I’m at the kitchen counter, slicing fruit. Pears.  

Mangoes. Bananas. Apples. Next to me, perched  

on the edge of the sink, is Jeremiah. He reaches  

toward me and taps my arm with his paw.  

“Stop,” I say and continue slicing a Gala apple.  

I toss a piece of it over my shoulder and onto  

the floor. Jeremiah dives after the apple slice,  

devours it, and jumps back up on the counter.  

He taps my arm again. I ignore him. It’s not  

just fruit. He loves vegetables too. Spinach.  

Romaine. Peas. Carrots. Green beans. Especially  

green beans. He howls at me. I pretend not  

to hear. He taps my arm again. “Stop,” I say.  

He snorts in response. Bossy, bossy cat. I toss  

another slice of apple on the floor. He leaps  

after it. Before he can return (because I know  

he will), I grab a green bean and toss it over  

my shoulder too. Jeremiah squeals with delight.  

He finishes the apple, eats half the green bean,  

and bats the rest of the bean across the floor  

like a toy. Good. That’ll keep him occupied  

for a while. Such a bossy cat. This reminds  

me of the woman I talked to earlier today in  

the cat meds aisle at PetSmart. I needed more  

flea treatment for my cats. She needed a calming  

formula for hers. Several months ago, she’d  

taken in a feral cat. Even though she fed and  

pampered it, the cat was still wild. It hissed  

at her and scratched every time she tried to  

pet it. She asked me what she should do?  

“You have to show a feral who’s the boss,”  

I said. “Give the cat what it wants in a way  

that allows you to get what you want.” Bored  

with his green bean, Jeremiah looks up at me.  

“Forget it,” I say, taking my fruit bowl to the  

table. “This is my lunch. Not yours.” He snorts  

and walks away. See? You have to show a  

cat who’s the boss. I wish men were this easy.  

If they were, marriage wouldn’t be so hard.  

Especially if they like green beans.  

Laura Stamps is a narrative poet and the author of several books: THE YEAR OF THE CAT, IN THE GARDEN, CAT DAZE, TUNING OUT, and more. Winner of the Muses Prize. Recipient of 7 Pushcart Prize nominations. Shortlisted in the Loft Books Poetry Competition. Twitter: @LauraStamps16.

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