everyone likes the new cat
especially you but aren't you tired of all his leaping what about the old one we got before you were born when we lived in Cincinnati mild city that two centuries ago when such things didn't seem silly called itself the name of the ancient peaceful Roman general who stayed on his farm we said it so many times it became familiar now it is strange how it sounds so strange I keep forgetting you can't remember you had been in our arms just a few months and we drove you strapped into a plastic seat the whole way from there to Denver sleeping and also him every few seconds meowing in a little box here where home has a little echo in it like saying o in the garage oh do please pet him even though he's boring he's so old he's older than you he forgot how to meow and doesn't even care he can't climb anything as you know it's hard to be young but also at the same time older everything is always in boring ways changing and nobody wants exactly what you want they just agree whenever you want something there is always something you forgot to think about but at night when you suddenly know your eyes are open you are not afraid like when the white serious goat at the petting zoo stared his thin black sidewise rectangles right at you without blinking and you laughed you are glad the secret of being awake belongs only to you listen I will tell you something funny and also sad when I was young I was so old I was careful even in my dreams
-originally published in Explosion-Proof
35 The Paris-American
Matthew Zapruder is the author of three collections of poetry, most recently Come On All You Ghosts, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Currently a Guggenheim Fellow, he is an editor for Wave Books, and teaches at UCR-Palm Desert's Low Residency MFA in Creative Writing. He lives in San Francisco.