His Way Sitting on our flat tar roof like a library lion, he was big as a raccoon and striped, too, but without a mask. There were no trees, no ladders, no porch crannies granting access to our roof. Still, the cat was there, at roof-edge observing the street below. I let him in the rug-shaking door. At eight, I fancied myself a cat charmer, able to entice a feline with a slow, swaying finger held just a whiff from its nose. This cat showed no interest in such a ploy. But when I sat on the edge of the bed, suddenly he was on my lap— so large he overlapped my lap— purring. I tested the cat. Lifted him off me, stood up, walked around. There was no clinging to my legs, no fawning head rubs, no ingratiation. When I sat down, at once he settled again on my lap. I think this must be what it is to meet the Buddha. Appearing unaccountably and without fanfare. An absence of disdain and of neediness. A presence encompassing and yet without claim. I was eight. I knew this cat was not looking for a home. I led him downstairs, opened the front door, watched him go on his way.
Rita Moe’s poetry has appeared in Water~Stone, Poet Lore, Slipstream, and other literary journals. She is the author of two poetry chapbooks, Sins & Disciplines and Findley Place; A Street, a Ballpark, a Neighborhood. She has two grown sons and lives with her husband in Roseville, Minnesota.