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.