he came to the door one night wet thin beaten and terrorized a white cross-eyed tailless cat I took him in and fed him and he stayed grew to trust me until a friend drove up the driveway and ran him over I took what was left to a vet who said,"not much chance...give him these pills...his backbone is crushed, but is was crushed before and somehow mended, if he lives he'll never walk, look at these x-rays, he's been shot, look here, the pellets are still there...also, he once had a tail, somebody cut it off..." I took the cat back, it was a hot summer, one of the hottest in decades, I put him on the bathroom floor, gave him water and pills, he wouldn't eat, he wouldn't touch the water, I dipped my finger into it and wet his mouth and I talked to him, I didn't go any- where, I put in a lot of bathroom time and talked to him and gently touched him and he looked back at me with those pale blue crossed eyes and as the days went by he made his first move dragging himself forward by his front legs (the rear ones wouldn't work) he made it to the litter box crawled over and in, it was like the trumpet of possible victory blowing in that bathroom and into the city, I related to that cat-I'd had it bad, not that bad but bad enough one morning he got up, stood up, fell back down and just looked at me. "you can make it," I said to him. he kept trying, getting up falling down, finally he walked a few steps, he was like a drunk, the rear legs just didn't want to do it and he fell again, rested, then got up. you know the rest: now he's better than ever, cross-eyed almost toothless, but the grace is back, and that look in his eyes never left... and now sometimes I'm interviewed, they want to hear about life and literature and I get drunk and hold up my cross-eyed, shot, runover de-tailed cat and I say,"look, look at this!" but they don't understand, they say something like,"you say you've been influenced by Celine?" "no," I hold the cat up,"by what happens, by things like this, by this, by this!" I shake the cat, hold him up in the smoky and drunken light, he's relaxed he knows... it's then that the interviews end although I am proud sometimes when I see the pictures later and there I am and there is the cat and we are photo- graphed together. he too knows it's bullshit but that somehow it all helps.