18: January 2018 #12 - Sputnik

Authored by Andres Perez


by Andres Perez


I used to know a cat who crawled under my skin.
She would playfully bat at my hands and feet,
searching curiously, turning over arms and legs
looking for a way to get in.
A noise would rattle as if in a can
like the top of the can, not the lid but the finger shaped tab 
that releases toxic spirits into the night. Tossed about in its tin coffin.
It's a noise so abrupt that before you knew it she was in —
sliding, sultrying, touching.
Comfort is her way of currency 
and a speech that is better left to moaning and purring.
At first it's strange, it's almost a game of hide and seek.
There are clues everywhere but patience is the key — where is she now?
Shoulder? Knee cap? Heart? Lungs?
She loves to nap in the stomach, her favorite scratch post: the rib cage.
The more you try to rid yourself of her 
the deeper the crevice she will find to curl up and hide 
until it's time to wander again.
Sometimes her figure bulges from my skin 
and loved ones mistake a curious kitten for a tumor.
"It's just Sputnik," I would say. "Such a naughty cat," they would reply.
When she's done wearing you she'll leave as quickly as she came,
the rattling sound increasing in volume,
a siren begging to be heard, then vanishing like a thought forgotten.
I haven't seen Sputnik for a while
but if you ever feel something crawling, scratching, 
or even purring within you, chances are 
it's Sputnik curiously renting you out for the night.