Adam waking

We chose this animal to be our pet.
His indifference allowed us to sleep.
Cat, who made your ears bend back,
who made you lazy as quick?
Who made you work?
It is a wonder any sun is left.
Still it is always so abrupt.
Sleep like an umbrella going up,
clumsy like a broken umbrella coming down,
this waking, and into what?
I did not ask to be afraid.
I did not ask for pleasure, but there it was,
it exfoliated at its own leisure,
grew until it was all that was—
The brief interruption of who I am
interrupts and punctuates the day
I always assumed that I would share—
Cat who cut the sun down from the sky
and then responsible put it up again?

There must be one of us that you prefer.


Katie Peterson, “Adam Waking” from This One Tree. Copyright © 2006 by Katie Peterson.  Reprinted by permission of New Issues Press.Source: This One Tree (New Issues Press, 2006) –

Image cover: Young Suh, Birthday, 2014. Archival pigment print, 44 x 54 inches. Courtesy of Mills College Art Museum

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