Cats don’t Purr

 

pettingcat

I cannot make the sound, can you?
I know no one else
able to, from the throat emit this
low frequency, rebounded and repeated
gaining decibel but maintaining
feral, wild rolls like Spanish R’s—false
imitations of pure happiness with eyes
closed and mouth—I can’t roll a tongue
tight-lipped.

Can you be perfect
in joy; content just lying down
on a pair of jeans, a pair of sweats
blindly offering love in return
for a pat on the head?

When the “barrier”
of language exists, we recede
and keep our untrusting walls
distancing that hand, my vulnerability;
not like them. Sounding bells, beacons
of shining glee—

How do you
describe it? Pure pleasure, not
for anyone, not for everyone;
not continuous like a dog
tail-wagging here, there; no. Only
for one moment, guard down, claws in,
calm—that cannot be glazed over
but onomatopoeia; not a bang, or buzz,
or boom; No, not a purr.
Cats don’t purr.

Poem and Illustration: Shelly Leung