Pen-and-ink kitten: rendering of some
kitten long grown up, grown old, long dead
(the drawing’s from a century ago)
but also ours, the kitten that we know.
The way one unsheathed claw
protrudes from a curved paw;
the feathered tail;
the halo of soft white around the fur—
all these belie the two-dimensional,
pounce from the page, stretch, purr.
Believe this kitten’s nothing more than flat
marks on paper; that
these words are merely blobs of black on white.
Then stroke the fictive kitten
with a touch as light
as Foujita’s brush.
It’s sleeping.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 41 Number 6, on page 22
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