We call him Cotton.
Plump, fluffy, and white as Muta.
He is a snob that hates cuddling. Gave me the dirty eye
whenever I lifted him in my arms. A cold grump like Muta.
He was friends with me
only when hungry. Still after feeding, he gobbled up an entire spread
the way Muta drowned himself in pink jello.
He avoided and pawed my other cats like he’s a king,
and they were servants. Quite condescending – just like Muta.
I gave Cotton away to a friend
and kept my brown tabby cat, Pogi. That’s Filipino for handsome, which he is.
Dapper and classy, like Baron Humbert von Gikkingen.
Pogi springs up to my legs even when not called. Bunts my face
and likes to snuggle in my arms like a fetus.
Cleans other cats at first meet. Purrs when feeding, grateful for every morsel.
Smart and friendly – like Baron.
When I remember Cotton, Pogi is kneading my arms,
his sharp claws sinking into my sore skin. I let him.
But I also think sometimes you just want a Muta
that doesn’t interrupt Zoom meetings. Or does not get colds
because he can’t keep himself from friend-licking stray cats’ dripping noses.
A cat who won’t jump on your lap, paws wet, for a pat
while you’re sleeping and dreaming
of a white cat that leaves you to it
when you want to be left alone.
This poem was first published in The Daily Drunk on February 2, 2023.