Chapter 42

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Philosopher Jones

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Philosopher Jones

I am no longer hungry.

I don't see
the reason to gather energy
when my blood can't carry
nutrients to my muscles,
bones, brain—my body proving
weak, regardless of what I give it.

Then Hooman #1 places a bowl
of delicious and gravy salmon
next to my window sill,
and I remember that, sometimes,
it's worth eating noms
just to taste it.

So I taken a few bites,
and Hooman #1 pets me.

I purr to heal what little is left
of my physical form
in this ethereally dark-mattered world
while Hooman #1 sings
It's Da Philo, oh so Philo
until the sun turns the window pink.

Hooman #1
I just spoke with the vet,
and we're thinking the prednisone
can go up a little more
so you have the strength
to play, feast, and be merry.

I turn my belly to my hooman,
knowing she likes to stroke
the silver belly fur
that was once midnight black,
when I was young.

She smiles in her eyes
as she runs her pink-painted nails
through the curls
that would've turned to dreadlocks
had she not brushed me every day.

I lose myself in those blue eyes,
even though it pains me
that I'll never look in them again
without also seeing
the snail-shell glisten
of deep sadness.

I know it's unreasonable
to expect my hooman
to feel happy
with our looming goodbye,
yet I hope, eventually,
that crystalline gauze
of held-back tears
will break like rain
on the drought in her heart,
and she will be well again.

When DeeJAY is alpha,
he best bring her the companionship
and warmth I've spent a lifetime
stoking in her belly,
or I will haunt his cat naps.

Hooman #1 slips her hand
under my chin, rubbing
the softest fur under my jaw.
Every chin rub feels like
the best scratch I've ever had,
so I purr louder.

Loki used to groom me
like the dignified second-in-command
my brother always lived up to be,
but cancer took him
across the rainbow bridge,
as it will carry me, too.

I think back to Phoebe
warning me not to enter the light,
but if returning to this matrix
means I can see Loki again,
or Hooman #1, or Cat Society #337,
I'd go for another round.

While Centauri Proxima B
might like funneling the souls
of this world for their gain,
I joined the cat societies
to learn about hoomanity,
to learn about love—butterflies,
grubs, and music—to learn
the emergences
the universe provides
when souls are protected
long enough to expand
to their true size.

Phoebe struts into the bedroom
and leaps onto the dresser
next to the window,
considering me and Hooman #1
with a grass-green gaze
that reminds me of the spring
on the other side
of this chilling winter.

Hooman #1 lifts
her non-dominant hand
to offer Phoebe scritches
while continuing to rub
that Kryptonite spot under my chin.

Guess what?

Hooman #1
Chicken butt?

The House of Representatives
just fired two flaming arrows
of impeachment
into the reptilian
talons of the Senate.

Philosopher Jones
You mean hoomanity
is challenging Orange Man?

I'm so proud of hoomanity;
one day, in some Star Trek era,
they won't need us
to help them fight
the dinorexes anymore.

Hooman #1
We would've made more progress
already, if we'd recovered
the Happy Rock—

Don't focus on ideal scenarios.

Philosopher Jones
let's just be at peace
with what we have,
while we have it.

And we sat together
in that content silence
for all of ten seconds
before Lahea squealed
from the living room:

Greg and Tom are in danger!

Phoebe sighed and excuses herself
from the dresser,
reassuring us that she remembers
the spaceship missile passcodes.

As her curled tail
disappeared around the bend
of the bedroom door,
Hooman #1 turned to me
and repeated curiously:

Hooman #1

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