Where do cats go when they die?
Where does anybody go?
I saw some clouds rushing across the sky
and I thought that Alice was running away from me.
Where are you running?
What substance are you in now?
Does such a clear personality,
so loved by the living,
just disappear into nothing?
Or do each of your molecules contain who you are
and so that quintessence of habits,
likes and dislikes, memories and desires,
is wafted into the universe.
Why not a cloud?
Or the other.
That the conglomeration of atoms
that made you are all that you were.
Together, they formed the brilliant machine
and the place behind the eyes.
But separated and scattered,
no longer held together
by the mysterious glue of life,
you are no longer.
If we found the bits,
painstakingly reconstructed them
like after an airplane crash,
could I get you back?
Otherwise, it seems like such a terrible waste
for such a wonderful creature to have been formed,
one who so loved Creation
and with so much joy
and who understood its purpose
so much better than I,
and then to have it disappear.
Sickness and disaster
may be the consequences of physical nature,
and death may be the corollary of life,
but can there be no essence, no soul?
And if there is a soul, where is Alice now?
And if there is someone who thinks
that only humans have souls,
shame on you.
God laughs at your pride.
2000 by Phillip Schreibman, in
My Cat Saved My Life
Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, Publisher
Reprinted with Permission of the Author