TSA Chasing a Cat at JFK Airport

January 30, 2017

When it escapes,

Some people look shocked and appalled,

Others are confused, kids point,

There is scattered yelling, 

"Attenti al gatto."

I laugh.


A woman holding her work pants a degree below her asscrack waddles by in hot pursuit.

Futile. When a cat sets it will, doesn't want to be caught—


It sneaks a bag of Jack Links from the Morning News one night,

Finds its way into the backroom of Burger King the next,

Eventually sidling up to the first-class

Who maw and feed it mudslides behind tinted glass.


Meanwhile, the woman who the cat ran out on misses her flight to Berlin—

No, Moscow—she's traveling somewhere far, unexotic, businesslike, but substantial, 

We color in the picture of a woman who cannot leave her cat behind, yet must go      forward.

So when she boards, solo, gently folding the pet carrier into her suitcase,

 and nobody asks her why she's crying, the audience is drawn to pity, at the very least. 


TSA at Terminal 2 give up with a huff as the cat crosses out of their jurisdiction.

"Those guys at Delta will probably shoot the thing if it tries to cross security."

There's a headline. 


But the feline does get through.

And when Mom and her reconnect three months later in LA

She's got seven new stamps in her passport and a hoop in her ear cartilage. 


"I've learned to speak," the feline says. And again (or not), for emphasis,

"I've learned to speak German," this time in French. Or vice versa. 


"That's wonderful, but it's time for you to be a cat again," Mom says. 


"I don't think I can," she replies, peering over Mom's shoulders,

Another 747 lifting off into distance.



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