Boxes

Boxes

Liat Miriam

This morning my cat, anxious from the move to our new apartment, would not stop crying. I placed a cardboard box on the floor, she crawled inside and quieted. I put the coffee on and wished I could sit in a box, although, gazing around my tiny studio apartment, I guess I am. After they left my mom said my dad regretted not leaving me weed.

At this time exactly a year ago my cat and I were moving into a different apartment a world away. That one had three rooms and a backyard, enormous for a city, even an extension of a city, like Bat Yam, where we lived. My cat could spend half her time outdoors. She’d taunt the ferals until they’d attack, then dart inside for mommy or daddy to come running and shoo them away.

My cat cries because she misses the yard. My cat cries because she misses the smell of her home country. I wonder if she misses the man called daddy, too? The man whose eyes would flash with anger if I referred to her as “my cat” instead of “our cat.” I always knew to stop when he’d spit a curse in Hebrew.

I open a cardboard box just bigger than his fist. I pull out a little ceramic gray kitten with a ceramic white face and paws, asleep in a little ceramic cardboard box. We saw this kitten on a shelf in a store in Breckenridge. He loved it, so we bought it, but he insisted I be the one to keep it when we parted. He tended to buy me things he thought I wanted.

The title of my graduate school admission essay should have been I chose grad school over love, so grant me admission. He held me at the airport and promised he loved me.

I go to Amazon and for the hundredth time this week I consider buying magnetic poetry. Perhaps with the words so readily available I will be the type of writer who writes, instead of the bitter kind who reads the poetry books at Urban Outfitters and thinks “I could do better” without actually trying. I haven’t bought measuring spoons yet, so to brew the coffee I estimate pinches of grounds.

During the last meal we shared a man died in a pool of blood beside us. Perhaps an aneurysm, he fell flat on the pavement. We’d never seen so much blood before. That night we drank arak and toasted every glass to him.

Now I’m flirting with other men. He asks me what I’m doing, I say I’m writing a creative nonfiction essay, but I have no idea how to say creative nonfiction in Ivrit.

Liat Miriam

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