I sit outdoors on the second step
and watch this cat eat his food.
He is not my cat
and cannot be my cat,
so he has no bowl and eats
from a folded silver square of aluminum.
The air is close and heavy in our lungs.
The neighbor’s air conditioner
slams to life. Mine echos
a moment later and their rusty
fans spin hard into the gathering dusk.
In this moment, the world
is as thin as the piece of foil
that crinkles lightly at each pass
of the cat’s tongue.
Everything bends along with it.
Thin kindness. Sanctuary.
The balance of a life starting over.
I look down at the cat
as we spin through this darkening universe,
and I am left to answer:
How will we sustain
this small and insignificant life?