Cat in an Empty Apartment

An illustration to celebrate the life of Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska.








A Cat in an Empty Apartment

Die? One doesn't do that to a cat.
What's a cat to do
in an empty apartment?
Climb the walls?
Brush up against the furniture?
It seems nothing has changed
yet everything's different.
It seems nothing has moved,
yet there's more space.
And the lamp doesn't light up in the evening.

There are footsteps on the staircase,
but they are not the same.
And the feeding hand
is neither.

Something doesn't start
at its usual time.
Something doesn't happen
as it should.
Somebody lived on and on here
then suddenly disappeared
and is stubbornly absent.

All the closets have been examined.
All the shelfs explored.
Excavations under the carpet were fruitless.
Even the rule was broken
and papers scattered everywhere.
What's more to be done?
Just sleeping and waiting.

But just let him return.
Just let him show up.
He'll learn
one doesn't do that to a cat.
He will be approached
slowly,
as if reluctantly,
on very offended paws.
And there'll be no jumping at first,

no meowing.





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