Rain dance (for a cat)

Cat o black as silk night my friend
I knew thee breaking in like clarinet (the cat’s instrument)
     like harp (elven)
     like violin (holy)
& like the drum
A rolling, rumbling thunder drum, the waves of the sea,
The motor of creation, thrumming insistent,
A will to hold & be held,
Sweet cat of the rumble on my heart
O cat
Green-eyed, clinging-pawed, & nuzzling

I must learn water from thee:
Cat fearing no water, we remember thy craving,
To drink & to share,
To walk upon us in the night & rain upon our faces
(Take this water & drink, for it is my love)

I must learn water for it is not how I have lived,
I am more fire & earth, I am
The one who burns what lies in my path
& may burn myself, I am
The one who lies unwavering within the path
Granite, slate, bluestone —
Against this
The poet said to teach us to care & not to care
The storm is to be entered but not navigated
The current is to carry, the fate is mere fortune,
I must learn the flowing ahead & around

O cat my warm beloved
In these years of small homes growing larger
In these years of roses blooming slow but sweet
In these years of patience screaming & money bleeding
In these years of inflammation:
     cancer in thy flesh,
     my kind eating the world
     my kind eating my kind
     kindness eating kindness
     & now in long pestilence
How could I not learn water?

I could not predict thee,
Thy purr eternal, love aching & unbreaking,
But how thou might run lunatic in thy youth
& then the turns taken by tooth & bowel,
Lung & gland
& blood
I could not predict, I could not know,
There was the waiting
There was the knowing of my vow:
Protect this cat & love him, unto apokálupsis

& we are there, & we are here,
Friend o relentless one,
Rumbler of thunder,
Lightning runner,
Softest blackest cloud,
Who sought the water & gave it,
Who made it rain upon our faces —
I pour out the sea upon my face,
I raise my voice in plainchant,
The sea is rising,
The sky is boiling,
The water we may drink is drying,
& in my black silk shrouding half my heart
(gone, even if thou art reborn)
I wait for more water,
O my prince of beasts purring,

I will thank thee for the rain.

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