swish, 801 (a poem), by kah

By kah 25 Jan 2001

“Seven-hundred ninety-seven.”
“Seven-hundred ninety-eight.”
“Seven-hundred ninety-nine.”
“Seven-hun- -
..wait a minute!”

seven-hundred ninety-nine
let the cat swish one more time –
it’s jet-black tail ‘cross my back
to make an even 800 track.

i starred into unblinking eyes:
filled with anger; love; surprise.
i knew then what it could see –
the inevidable stream of antiquity.

the cat and i sat back to back
as the cat’s long tail had swished away it’s track
seven-hundred ninety-nine,
oh, let the cat swish one more time.

o, cat! o, cat! o, kitt-y cat!
swish your tail across my back!
maddening eyes, smirking face –
with time there now shall be a race.

i felt that i was going mad,
but what the cat felt was only sad:
the loss of his friend with the iron shoe,
the loss of his brother in Timbuktu.

i wasn’t thinking clearly; straight -
all i had to do was wait!
wait for the impossible fate..
not six, or seven-hundred, but eight!

i longed to say the words out loud
and imagined my body within a shroud
eighty years later, buried with the cat
still waiting for the feeling of that swish across my back.

it seemed as if the cat was trying to decide
whether to let out the swish it was hiding from inside..
or to make me squirm with pain and agony
as it purred with pure pleasure and stupidity.

the cat’s long tail flickered and flicked,
it looped, it curled, it fluttered and thricked.
one could not hope for only one more;
one more swish to add to the score.

then the cat’s black tail came closer to my back – - -
o! the even eight-hundred track!
could it be… would it be?
could it? would it? could it be?!

the golden eyes i looked into,
and then i knew it would be true…
the cat’s tail swished one more time!
farewell, seven-hundred ninety-nine!

with an annoyed look the cat tucked up it’s feet.
o! delicious moment when flesh and cat fur meet!
i was free from the torure, the madness, the pain..
and what did i lose? (but what did i gain?)

“800, 800, 800 times!
Eight-hundred, eight-hundred, eight-hun – -”


i screamed with anguish, for then i knew
that swish could not be erased untrue.
and then with a grin and a yawn so deep
the cat shut its eyes and went to sleep.

(written by me in 8th grade)