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Sunday, June 15, 2014

Nile Priestess Meditational

Greenwich Village, 1958. 96 Perry Street

Up. Me. Food. Now. Sun. Food. Lick. Look. Mrrrrowww! Meeee-- UP! 

She growls, deep in her throat, like I do.
Handmaid of the Nile, robed in black T-shirt. Yawn no more.

She shuffles and scuffles, looking for slippers.

O priestess, dark-haired gypsy-eyed feline handmaiden, do not be afraid.

Just reach into cold box and DISH it!

Little milk to wash it down would be nice, too.


Bells on the sidewalk. Sweet song of Perry Street. YOU are my Eastern star. Got any more?

No-no DON’T go back to sleep-yawn-look-at-me- don’t close—OKAY. Okay. Yawn.

Jump. Sniff. Blue outside.

She rises. “Aren’t you supposed to be nocturnal?”
Sure. But it's five o'clock. We hit the pillow late, you and me, and I'm still hungry.

Plus, it'll be dark before you know it. And there’s a boy with a yo-yo outside and I WANT THE STRING.

Sigh. Throws the covers off. Open the window and out I go.

Grass. Brick. Street and boy sounds. Mister Yo-yo lets me approach.

Ping! Giggles. Ping string! Little white teeth like tiny pearls. And a dimple.

Nile Priestess is laughing too. She climbs out the window, wearing jeans now with T-shirt.

I run in circles around the boy. His mother swoops down like a crimson bird. I could eat her, if I was only bigger.

“Sammy! C’mon!”

Nile Priestess picks me up and I squirm. Down again, to sniff out morsels.

Jelly bean. Bit of muffin. Butter on it? No. Gum. Sneeze! Paper. Beer. Banana peel. Shrimp. Shrimp? Yum. Scoop.

Ruby sits on curb, stroking my back. Smells like saffron with a bit of lemon oil. As a priestess should.

Grass poking out of boulevard tree, tempting me with green. Thin, like spaghetti, but tastier. Tickly in my throat.

Three children in strollers trundled by three mommies, in pink and blue blankies with wheels spinning round and round. Babies are better than children, who can pick you up and torture you.

Nile P. and I prefer the dark. Corners under porches and fire escapes and city trees where my eyes reflect the streetlights, seeing everything, seeing nothing. 

But evening is almost as good. Sun is a little kinder than it is in the a.m. Shadows are longer and I like to play with mine.

Nile P. pinches up a new sliver of grass and tickles me. Wriggle nose to entertain her. 

She’s barefoot and walks gingerly in case someone’s thrown a bottle on the street. (Someone usually has.)

Neighbor walks down with armload of garbage. “Hi, Ruby.”

“Hi, Mrs. B.”

Bent over, snow-hair and corner-of-mouth crinkles. What will my handmaiden look like when she’s old?

Mrs. B puts garbage in can and shuffles back inside. Garbage. Something slippery and slithery along the side…

“Solange! NO.”

DO NOT pick me up and bring me inside, Handmaid. NO!

“Ow!” I scratch. She recoils.

“Fine. Have it your own way.”

She floats back inside, a whisper girl in search of a Coke.

Slithery garlic on the side of the garbage. A whole street full of garbage cans, and who knows what's inside them?

All mine. All night. Mine.


P. S. I wrote this for Solange, who dictated.

(Ruby T.)   

Cat photos: Janet Stilson