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Once upon a morning weary, while I pondered, bleak and bleary,

Over where a quaint and curious sunny spot of sunlight sat—

    While I noodled, nearly nodding, suddenly there came a stomping,

As my owner rudely hopping, galomping all across the mat.

“’I am leaving,” she uttered, “To get my hair done at Chez LePhatt—

            Do be a gentle pussy cat.”

 

    Such a distinct reminder that she chose to leave behind her;

The memories that wind their ghosts revealing past ungentle acts

    Eagerly I wished her going;—and by her absence showing

    That I could truly be trusted—trusted to be a gentle cat—

For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore—

For despite my history, written by my own paw at that—

            For I could be a gentle cat.

 

    And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of a particular curtain

Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic desires echoing through the flat;

    So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating

    “Despite what lurks in yonder cage, I shall not disturb its habitat.

What lurks in yonder cage, I shall not disturb its habitat.

            I’ll be a gentle pussy cat.”

 

    Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,

“Sir,” said I, “or Madam, hello, let me begin by saying that   

I come to you as salvation, to give you a nice vacation

    From your imprisoned station, patiently jailed like a rat

I shall grant you precious freedom”

That I scarce was sure I heard you”—here I moved the curtain that

            Covered where the tweety bird sat.

 

    Deep between those tin bars peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,

Doubting, dreaming dreams no feline ever dared to dream at that;

    But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,

    And the only word there spoken was the whispered, “Puddy tat?”

This I heard, and an echo murmured back the word, “Puddy tat!”—

            I ducked down in nothing flat.

 

    Back below the cage turning, all my soul within me burning,

Wondering if I could handle the necessary combat

    “Surely,” said I, “surely this fear is but lack of practice;

      Let me see, then, what thereat is, and myself no ‘fraidy cat—

Let my heart be still a moment and myself no ‘fraidy cat;—

            I’ll take this bird nothing flat!”

 

    Open here I flung the cage door, my countenance full of rage more

Fearsome than had ever been seen in the stage of bloody combat

    Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;

    But, with mien of lord or lady, perched like a smug diplomat—

This tweety bird just sat in its cage, perched like a smug diplomat —

            Perched and nothing more but sat.

 

Then this yellow bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,

By the bright and gay decorum of the countenance it wore,

“Though thy head be too large for your collar, thou,” I said, “art sure no scholar,

Sunny bright and cheerful bird caged within this cozy flat—

 

Any last words before I eat you in the next ten seconds flat?”

            Quoth the tweety bird “I thought I saw a puddy tat.”

 

    “Nonsense!” said I, “thing of evil!—nonsense still, if bird or devil!—

I shall devour you in one swallow—tell me what you think of that

    Tell this soul full of hunger if, or I shall wait no longer—

    Though I did make a promise to my owner for to be a gentle cat

Blast that a promise to my owner for to be a gentle cat!”

            Quoth the tweety bird “I did, I did! I did see a puddy tat.”

 

    “Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!” I shrieked, upstarting—

“I’ll not go back on my word, lest I prove a deceitful cat.

    Though your yellow plumes are quite tempting, I am beyond relenting!

    I shall not taste your feathered flesh, it shall never come to that!

Take thy beak from out my teeth, for shall never come to that!”

            Quoth the tweety bird “Puddy tat?”

 

    The tweety bird, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting

In the sunlight cage in the living room of our shared flat

    And his eyes are blank and empty, full of blatant contempt he

    Directs at me, for in my need to prove myself a gentle cat

I have no more affect upon that bird that a common gnat.

            I fear I am…a puddy tat.


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Jared Axelrod's picture

Jared Axelrod

Jared Axelrod is an author, an illustrator, and a world changer. Throughout her eventful life she has also been a circus performer, a puppeteer, a graphic designer, a sculptor, a costume designer, a podcaster and quite a few other things that she’s lost track of but will no doubt remember when the situation calls for it. She is the writer and producer of “The Voice Of Free Planet X” podcast, were she interviews stranded time-travelers, low-rent superheroes, unrepentant monsters and other such creature of sci-fi and fantasy, as well as the podcasts “Aliens You Will Meet” and “Fables Of The Flying City.” The story started in “Fables Of The Flying City” is concluded in The Battle Of Blood & Ink, a graphic novel published by Tor. She is not domestic, she is a luxury, and in that sense, necessary.