Installation & Drawing

Cat in an Empty Apartment- 2018


Die – One doesn’t do that to a cat.

For what’s a cat to do

in an empty apartment.

Climb up the walls.

Rub up against the furniture.

Nothing seems changed here,

yet it’s still changed.

Nothing’s been moved,

yet it seems pushed back.

And the light no longer comes on in the evenings



Footsteps can be heard on the stairs,

but not the ones.

The hand that puts fish into the bowl

is not the one that used to, either.



Something does not begin

at its usual time.

Something doesn’t take place

as it should.

Someone was here, and was,

and then suddenly disappeared

and now stubbornly is not.



All the closets have been inspected.

All the shelves run across.

The carpet has been squeezed under and checked out.

Even the commandment has been broken

and the papers have been scattered.

What else is there to do

but sleep and wait.



Oh, let him come back,

let him show his face.

Then he’ll learn the lesson

that one doesn’t do that to a cat.

Walk toward him

with feigned reluctance

slowly

on one’s very offended paws.

No leaps or squeals, at least to begin with.


Wisława Szymborska
trans. Piotr Malysz