Gregory O'Brien

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Fate of a cat

What became of the cat that was always rubbing
up against your leg? Whenever I came around, it was
always the same. Always rubbing. Always
your leg. The same leg. But one day the cat was
gone. And when I mentioned this you cited the
first law of thermodynamics then added, matter-
of-factly, that it was only a matter of time, with
that amount of friction — with that loss and gain of
heat — the cat had rubbed itself out…… Now
I find the missing cat’s face in the most unlikely
places. It has become a footprint left in clay, the sole
of an old shoe, a leaf that has blown from a garden
fire or that comes to us from some outer province of
autumn. I see the cat’s face in mud-
pool and mirror, puddle and milk bowl. Through
its eyes I can see forever.

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