my silence is your 
cause for worry 
as the corners of
my eyes grow sharp 
and my palms press 
against this floor, 
open and flat like 
a cardboard box 
accepting “no” for 
a final answer, the 
clock ticking with 
every breath taken, 
every nod of my 
curious head gone 
wild at each new 
nook and cranny, 
water spilled when 
you catch me in a 
joke, a scheme, two 
people—you and me, 
maybe there’s three 
if you count the wool 
blanket that’s waiting 
to hear of all my woes 
and worries and doubt 
surrounding this day 
in age, the cars that 
stop and the drivers 
who wait when no one 
has the right-of-way 
except for myself, but 
here I am in my shell, 
chasing the ghosts of 
mermaids, their tails 
disappearing in the 
blinding glare of a hot 
afternoon in the fall.
Cat No. 137 of the 500 Cats Project