If You’re Happy I’m Happy

 

by John Gallaher

 

 

My cat is losing his mind.  He’ll only eat from his bowl

 

when I walk over to it and act like I’m putting food 

 

in it.  There’s usually already food in it.  I stand there 

 

some mornings imagining it’s 2045, though I’ve never gotten 

 

that specific.  I’m writing a letter.  Dear so-and-so, I’m 

 

hungry, and I had this cat once who would only drink 

 

from the toilet.  I had to leave the lid up, and I had this 

 

recurring fear the lid would fall, killing him.  We all get 

 

fragile in our ways.  So I imagine all the ways I can keep 

 

the toilet seat from falling.  I could remove it.  Or tape.  

 

Or perhaps I’m just overreacting.  I’ve been told that I 

 

overreact.  Right now, as an example, I’m listening 

 

to Leonard Cohen sing, where he’s writing a letter, which 

 

is probably why I’m thinking of writing a letter.  Maybe 

 

that’s not overreacting.  I think I’m getting the concept 

 

all wrong, which is something that happened on Tuesday 

 

as well, where I conflated people watching a TV show 

 

about a serial killer and how we were all talking about capital 

 

punishment.  It felt like a connection to me, how we were 

 

saying this and this about hanging or firing squads, and I 

 

grew depressed about the human condition, and it got me 

 

thinking about how the serial killer was popular, that it 

 

seemed people liked him, and I was thinking about how 

 

we get ourselves to places where things like killing someone 

 

and bringing your own plastic splatter sheets is OK to 

 

watch, and maybe even while having ice cream or something.  

 

It’s not the same at all, I was told, how that and the one 

 

blank in the squad, the one blank shot, operate.  So here 

 

I am on Thursday, and I’m saying hello to the people I 

 

come across.  I’m asking them about their day, leaning in 

 

just a little.  It shows warmth.  It shows how we care.