“The cats are getting fat”, you say.
“How much are you feeding them?”
I tell you,
most adult cats, even the skinniest, have a flap of skin,
fat and fur, hanging from their bellies
saggy as a dead fish,
jiggling as they trot through the house
a mouse in their mouth.
I tell you,
this primordial pouch protects the organs against the cold,
against powerful hind legs
if it comes to that.
It stores all the extra treats
in case one day, the love runs out
and the cat must fend for itself.
It’s the least graceful part,
but it’s the part I love the most
about my cats:
knowing they won’t go hungry
if they skip a meal
or be eviscerated
if rolling in submission isn’t enough
to protect them from a fight.
You say “the cats are getting fat”,
but we both know who
you are talking about.
For years I hoarded love right under my skin,
soft and warm and you
fell asleep with your head
on my bulging stomach.
When you start dropping hints about my weight -
when you stop reaching out for my hand as you drive,
winking in the mirror as we brush our teeth,
slapping my ass as I empty the dishwasher -
when your love runs out, I find
I can't fend for myself.
I shed it all to try to entice your hands
back on my body.
When you bunny-kick me out
of our apartment,
of our home,
of our life,
I lay there
on my back.
A slim figure with a flat belly for the first time in my life,
and bleeding my guts out.
MJ L'Espérance is a writer from Montréal. She writes about identity, disability, loss and lust. Her work can be found in Anti-Heroine Chic and Ponder Savant. In her spare time, she likes to run after cats in back alleys and walk barefoot on the grass. She’s on Instagram @mj.lesperance.