Monday, November 08, 2004

Haiku To a Dead Cat


J-Cat image 1—Beckoning Cat of Fortune (招き猫 maneki neko—more properly understood as “Sinister Mercantile Cat Beckoning to Your Material Lusts”)

Alas, today’s post concerns a cat of misfortune. Twelve years ago, at the age of fifteen, I wrote thus in my Russian workbook (in no connection to what I was supposed to be writing in my Russian workbook):

A flurry, fury
Under wheels; a cat writhing,
The end of a life.
—15 December, 1992


At the time I was being facetious, but this long lost scrap of memory came back to me last night when I ran over my first cat. I love cats, I hate killing animals that I don’t eat, and I did everything I could think of in the five-second time frame afforded me to make it end differently. The cat started to dash across the road, I dropped down to half-speed, the cat stopped in the other lane, I coasted on, the cat ran under my front wheels at the last second. . . . My gut reaction is to revile the cat for bringing its blood guilt upon me (and Thumper’s tires) through its own stupidity. But who are we to build big metal machines that tear across the once quiet night, beaming confusion into inarticulate eyes with the two fraudulent suns lighting our selfish way. Since when has it become so imperative that we always be somewhere else, so far away, so fast. . . . The cat just wanted to walk across the twenty feet of road and enjoy something interesting in its own neighbourhood.

J-Cat image 2—Cat Least-Likely to be Run Over in 2005
Happy Belated Birthday, Kitty-chan!
(November 1, 1974 if you were wondering)