Chapter 35

34 8 4

While Hooman #1's fathertakes a plane with DeeJAYto conduct early reconnaissancein the City of Sin,

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While Hooman #1's father
takes a plane with DeeJAY
to conduct early reconnaissance
in the City of Sin,

Hooman #A leaves
with Major Tom and Gregory
in a private train car
to join up on the front-lines,
where they'll work together
against the red ping
of a suspicious lizardman.

I want to help
the intelligence team
but I'm harrowingly tired
from the anemia,

so instead I sleep
in the hooman bed
with the light, knitted quilt
and emo throw pillows
Hooman #1 brings home
from Hot Topic
after Thanksgiving
every year.

Fifteen years of throw pillows
mark the satisfying passage
of many autumns
as alpha of Cat Society #337.

But I'm no longer
measuring time
in a forward momentum;
this passage
has started to fade.

I'm slipping back
under the gauze
of cat-napping
into a memory

when I was only
two winters old

and my brother, Loki,
sped with me
through the apartment hall

moments before
Hooman #1 opened
the twice-white-painted door
with peeled-to-the-wood corners
from all the times
I rubbed our entryway
to mark my place.

I'm slipping back
in the watery cool of dreams
to when I was eight

and Loki was kneading
a blanket folded
in Hooman #1's lap,

but I didn't know
until I jumped up
and bumped into him.

Hooman #1 laughed
harder than I'd heard
her laugh before

as Loki and I
swerved together
in a current
in sync
to nap in the lap
of our best friend.

I'm slipping back
into the warmth
of the same hooman hand

petting me in my sleep,

petting me in my dreams,

petting me when
I am twelve years old,
after Loki has gone,

and I'm lying in the sun
of the backyard
with a white butterfly
fluttering into a blinding light.

It's a trap.

Then I startle
awake at the sound
of Phoebe's voice

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