Onyekachi Iloh

I Will See You In Another Life

I will see you in another life where we are both cats.
While we wait out whatever dark destiny awaits this one, let us dance
in our gangly human forms, limbs aflutter like fledglings finding the
miracle of flight. It is a beautiful life, this one. This life where I trace
lines on your collarbones and realize how much of a repository for
desire a body is. I don’t tell you I am drawing stickmen at war, that
they roll their stick-siege engines across the sinewy landscape of your
left breast. This is the life where I toy with the idea of starting a
revolution on a Tuesday afternoon, and you guffaw, make finger guns
and say “blam, blam”. Everything begins in the mind. That is to say,
everything originates in an ether of neurons and capillaries. I will see
you in another life where we are both cats. You, deep ginger with one
white foot. Me, black like I dragged the night from my mother’s womb.
Housewives would fling brooms at me and cross their hearts as I leap
over backyard walls. I will see you in another life where my clumsiness
is a mirage from our less graceful lives. You with your fur fiery like the
handiwork of a fire god. My white foot is a testament to that one time
I tasted light and found it too banal, you would say this and no one
would disbelieve you. I will see you in the life where there are no
memories of this one. That other life in which there are eight other lives.
One where you concur The Beatles are exquisite; seven where you text
back immediately, enjoy okpa, and are good at ironing. Buñuel said
there is another life and it is inside this one. In that life, either Buñuel
enjoys a newfound sagacity or he is too trivial for our feline minds to
spare him any thought. I will see you in another life where we are both
cats. In that other life, I would discover how worthy of worship what
we have is. I would take you to Cairo. After an afternoon of almost
being ran over and getting kicked on the sidewalk, we would sit on the
banks of the Nile and in catspeak whisper of a time Egyptians worshipped
cats. Our voices tinged with longing would carry over the water, past
the feluccas gliding by like mesmerised phantoms of ages past. I will see
you in another life where the clouds are radiant balls of string. In that
other life, we would pontificate on the importance of being in the right
place at the right time and in the right body. While we await a time when
your one white foot pats my black cat face, sit here with me, drink milk
and tell me about the dream where we drop mice at the doorstep of desire.