"The cat has not experienced any improvement in its fortunes; it is still a scrawny little half-starved stray scraping by on the streets of Brooklyn. To be honest, I don’t know that that cat is long for this world; it’s a hard-knock life out there for a little street cat. But it has survived thus far this long, brutal, relentless winter; it’s gotten by, somehow, against the odds; and it escaped the clutch of the authorities to resume life on its own terms and under its own auspices. Sometimes the metaphors that show up in your life are extremely literal: you never know, for example, what you’re capable of until you are at the very edge and the cops show up. I mean, you know what I mean. There’s no way out but through. Last night I came home to find the cat sitting in the sidewalk in front of my building with a battered and disreputable-looking new tabby friend (one eye crusted shut, notched ear, horrifically dirty). My favorite street cat did not seem any the worse for its harrowing adventure. “Hey cat,” I said, “live free or die, right?” It eyeballed me, seeming almost to consider my overture, and then it scurried under a parked car. This week I’m going to remember to start carrying cat food with me when I leave the house. Just in case."
"I HAVE THOUGHT A LOT ABOUT BEING THINGS SINCE TRYING TO BE AN ONION,” Harriet writes in her notebook. “I HAVE TRIED TO BE A BENCH IN THE PARK, AN OLD SWEATER, A CAT, AND MY MUG IN THE BATHROOM. I THINK I DID THE MUG BEST BECAUSE WHEN I WAS LOOKING AT IT I FELT IT LOOKING BACK AT ME AND I FELT LIKE WE WERE TWO MUGS LOOKING AT EACH OTHER. I WONDER IF GRASS TALKS."