When I feed my cat I crouch very close, sit on my haunches to watch her eat, see her head dip then snap back quick to stare at me, kibble mashing in tiny teeth, eyes slightly annoyed but otherwise empty. She is six. She floats and folds like a pillowcase. I hope she never dies. She doesn’t speak to me. It doesn’t matter. I watch her play with yarn and I feel so proud. She’s made a tangle of it. I consider her a genius. She designs a bed. She appears to contemplate serious things. I notice she’s taken a liking to grass. Later she throws it up in my hands. At night I fix a blanket on the good side of bed (she enjoys soft textures). In the morning I check immediately—yes, those are the dents of pawprints. I am so happy I could cry. Maybe I already have. I don’t know, it’s really early. She will need feeding.
3 Questions for Stacey
What was your process for creating this work?
I wrote these poems with a specific image in mind: the particular shade of a particular taxi on a particular summer day, or how my cat looks crouched over her food bowl. They're not particularly striking, but they stuck with me. Writing is my way of discovering why. I wanted to broaden the scope of the images while keeping their mood specific, which gave me liberty to engage in a bit of stream of consciousness that was still grounded in the feeling of the original image.
What is the significance of the form you chose?
I wrote in free-verse, which most closely mimics the quick and loosely organized way my thoughts unravel.
What is the significance of this work to you?
Each poem is about longing. Whether that's longing for a childhood self or the immortalization of a pet is just a difference in flavor. In "Aquamarine Taxi," that memory—the weather, the meal—encompasses everything I feel about Shanghai, a city I likely will not visit again because my grandma has since passed. And with "Cat-Lover" and "Deaths of Getty": I think loving a pet can be so pathetic. And I'm drawn to pathetic things. I wanted to capture that.
Stacey Yu is a writer and reviewer living in San Francisco. She studied English Literature at Columbia University. She once memorized 400 digits of pi, for which she won an apple pi.