Grief Cat

Circling the edges of these rooms, 

he rubs the sides of his belly,  

his fisted face on every vertical  

plane—each wall and table leg,  

each stair spindle—pretending 

not to see me. Just when I forget 

to look for him, when the folds 

of my brain are fat with work  

or I think I’m too tired to dream, 

grief cat pounces from an unseen 

height or springs from a space too 

small to hold him. At the bottom 

of my closet he finds the shoes 

I bought her, the ones I took back. 

Curling heavy on my chest while  

I’m sleeping, grief cat watches  

me stare into this mirror, see  

the curves of her face and lines  

burrowing deeper. Stretching long  

on the couch, flicking his tail,  

he studies me with dark orbs 

that see all I’ve lost. Relentless,  

shifty, if he moves I’ll never  

see him coming.