I will praise my failures. I will praise
What I have not accomplished and do not possess
Because it has led to this moment
At ten in the morning on a smoky October day,
Sitting on the bedroom floor in my bathrobe,
Treated to a rectangle of overcast sky
And a poplar whose yellow leaves,
Half blown away, are as artfully arranged
As the characters in a haiku.
I will praise my too-small apartment
With its cheap kitchen cabinets
And mismatched furniture, its jumbo litter box
Stealing half the front closet whose carpet
Is covered with pebbles. I will praise
The dun-colored carpet itself, gayer for wine stains,
And my cardboard box of a desk.
Because I have sat cross-legged there
And felt ideas alight on my shoulder like cardinals.
And my home was a mansion then,
A paradise of the new, which it is for the cats anyway
As they sleep under spider plants
In rich strips of sun.
~ Hymn, with Birds and Cats BY FRANCINE MARIE TOLF
Truth: When I moved in this tiny apartment from a large Vancouver special house, this bachelor apartment is paradise, in comparison from a 3,000 sq ft house to a 600 sq ft apartment. A wooden top on a cardboard box for my table and hand-me-down ottoman chair occupied the living room. I felt wealthy and grateful for the sanctuary that I created.
The cardboard box is now gone, chewed up by squirrels. How did that happen? I befriended the resident squirrels, left the sliding door open one day, the squirrels had a party without me, and when I came home, much to my surprise, the box is no more. I still have the wooden top for memorabilia because my nephew’s drawing is imprinted on the board.
Now, birds and cats live here. Otis is another cat living down below. Otis looks exactly like Maurice. The owner, my brother, Angelo Siglos.