by Heather Elliott
When I come home in the evenings
my grey cat waits by the door.
She steps up to the opening and looks out
at the unremarkable hallway, the blank doors
of facing apartments. Sometimes
her front paws pass the doorframe onto dull
blue carpet; but no farther. She sticks out her head
and tilts it, quizzical.
the door open with one foot
so she can look her fill, as I take off my coat
and hang it on its hook, deposit my bag and keys
and mail on the counter. I hold the door open
because this is a moment and thought I recognize;
the known universe has suddenly, inexplicably expanded.
What a moment! The chair she sits on
is not everything, the refrigerator
her canned food emerges from is not everything;
the litter box in the corner and place on my bed
where light slants an hour or so in the afternoons
are not everything.
this is what it’s like to consider
crossing an ocean, even though you’re told
the world is flat. Surely this is what it’s like
to spin the globe and imagine
moving jobless to the pink country
where your finger lands. I hold the door open
because I know after a second or two
she will back into the safety of my kitchen, stretch,
her tail a feathery question mark, open
her mouth and demand food.
when she has draped herself across my lap
or is rolled tight beside my pillow
in humming warmth, I will think
this is surely what it’s like watching
the ladder drop down the first time;
the moment you decide you will set foot on the moon.