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Poem: Pet by Shrey Gaur
Words by Shrey Gaur
Image by Gretchen Gales
"Meow", she says
The only way she knows with words
And then stare at me
Not at my face
But right through me
Through the centre of my chest
With those piercing eyes.
I try to make eye contact
In order to converse
But she curls back into a little mat
Disinterested with grace
Burning me with curiosity
I move here and there
Do some actions
Make some sounds
Disturb her meditation
When she gets up and begins to leave
She's not concerned about any closure.
I make her sit forcefully
Stroke the top of her head
Caress her fur
Maybe she's sleepy
I'll let her sleep.
But just then she notices something
Her ears tell me
Stout and alert
She starts licking her paws meanwhile
Realising the disturbance wasn't much important
To get up and seek answers to
It's got just a little brain to convince maybe
And an even little heart, cold.
Suddenly she stretches herself, gets up
She arches her back
Avoiding an imaginary poke in her stomach
Her tail receiving signals from space
I think she's afraid
Of me, of something
Is she preparing to attack?
Or just trying to scare me to stay away
She does it well
I don't interfere for a while but just observe.
Convinced that she's out of the limelight
She starts her own little quest
Chasing her own tail to begin with
She waits for it to settle
And pounces on it
But the tail is smarter
It changes position just at the right time
She waits again
This time she's determined to go the long mile
Circling around for almost a minute without rest
Then she runs, jumps, hangs, sticks around to release a sudden spurt of energy
And finally settles down in what was my room moments back.
"Meow", she asks me this time
Clueless, tired, anxious, maybe hungry
I tried to feed her earlier
She smelled it first, the Queen she is
Followed by a reluctant first lick to further check
In a moment she was nibbling with some intent
As if she'll empty the entire bowl
And before that thought strikes your head, done.
Now she doesn't even want to see it, it's poison
I push the bowl towards her
But no, she doesn't eat biscuit chunks
Or maybe she needs something to wash them down with
I immediately run to get water and come back with milk
She drinks it with utter concentration
And turns her face away when she's done
Now that's as good as any liquid for her
Can be thrown down the sink, she doesn't care.
"Meow", she expresses formally
Shakes her head fiercely to send the ticks flying out of their universe
And then off she goes to sleep
I've been watching all this
Trying to make sense
Trying to help her
Trying to love her expecting it back
She can't complain, not in a language I understand.
What if I was in her place
In fact, I am in her place to her
Trying my best to express myself
Understanding signals, making my own
Trying to call her by name, trying to talk instinctively.
I relive my childhood
Helpless and unlearned
Challenging and thus exciting
I'll learn the language eventually
I'll remember all these funny failures, make memories
Get bored of her yet carry as a responsibility.
In this little interaction with the help of nothing but only gifts from nature,
I understand life.
The doubts are just in my head
Just to keep me going on
Just to quench my thirst
That's all we've evolved.
But Sigzy doesn't care
She walks away
Unconcerned, unbound, unfazed
While I need all the answers, she just needs her space!
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