# of pages revised: 51
# of literary mags submitted to: 0
other: I found out that I will have a poem published in Emerge Literary Journal
This year, Christmas at my mother’s house was a zoo. Literally. My mom has a cat, Zoe, who is, unbiasedly, the most beautiful feline in all of the world. Then my brother brought Roddy, his Chihuahua-Pomeranian, who is, unbiasedly, the most ridiculously adorable canine in all of the world. And we are also pet-sitting my mom’s friend’s canary.
In review, that’s a cat, a dog, and a bird, all under the same roof.
The animals were actually pretty good while the company was here. Zoe got annoyed with Roddy’s rambunctious and dog-like behavior, so she mostly stayed in my mother’s bedroom, and Roddy was too busy trying to jump on everyone’s laps to even notice the bird, whose cage is set up in the living room.
Of course, things were zoo-like for other reasons, too. On Christmas Day my grandpa, aunt, uncle, and four cousins came over. Add to the mix some cups of spiked eggnog, and things got a little crazy. My mother decided to put us all to work in the back yard. Soon, Uncle Pat was up on a wobbly ladder, sawing dead branches from a tree while Grandpa wandered off into the woods with an ax to demolish some rotting stumps. My brother tried to teach me how to chop wood for the fire, and as I wielded the ax above my head, laughing maniacally, my cousins eyed me nervously and murmured about all of the accidents just waiting to happen.
But soon the excitement died down. Yesterday Grandpa drove back to his Senior Living complex, and my mother went back to work, and my brother and Roddy went back home, leaving me alone in the house with the cat and the bird.
And now, things are getting interesting.
This morning I was sitting in the dining room, trying to change my entire novel from present tense to past tense, when I heard the bird cheeping frantically. Canaries are supposed to sing, of course, but they don’t if they are stressed. They only make a pitiful cheeping sound.
I walked into the living room, and there was Zoe, sitting in front of the cage, staring at the canary.
“Kitty, what are you doing? Are you being bad?” I asked.
She turned to me, blinked once, then turned back to the bird.
I retreated to the dining room.
Cheep-cheep-cheep-cheep-cheep! came the bird’s frightened call a moment later. I rushed back. I thought maybe Zoe had stuck her paw through the bars of cage and was clawing at the little bird. But no, the bars were too narrow for that, and Zoe was just sitting on the couch, staring into the cage with an intent expression on her face while the bird hopped around nervously on its fake wooden branch and pooped out of fear.
And then I began to think about just how insane this whole situation really is.
First, look at it from the bird’s perspective. He is trapped in a very small cage, staring directly into the evil yellow eyes of the thing he fears the most. He cannot escape, and he has no idea when the nightmare will end. Every second that goes by is killing him slowly on the inside. He keeps hoping that somehow the cage will open and he will be able to fly away to freedom, but of course, this will never happen. Poor bird.
Now look at if from the cat’s perspective. She is inches away from something she wants desperately, and yet there is no way for her to get it. The bird is right there, hopping annoyingly inside its cage, looking so plump and delicious, but she cannot reach it. Every second that the bird lives on is killing her slowly on the inside. She keeps hoping that somehow the cage will open and she will have the opportunity to make a grab for what she wants, but of course, this will never happen. Poor kitty.
It makes me wonder – which one am I?
Am I the bird, trapped with my own fears, feeling anxious and unable to fly? Or am I the cat, staring at the things I want but feeling frustrated that they are just out of reach?
I am probably a little bit of both. But of course, the cages are only in my mind, and if I work hard, I can make the bars dissolve. I can fly away from my fears. I can reach out and make a grab for what I want.
#1 If you were an animal, what animal would you be? How would be behave?