Wicket

William Keckler
3 min readOct 1, 2023

I worry about Wicket a lot.
I was just doing that.
I don’t see him outside right now.
I saw him in the darkness sleeping
when I looked out in the night,
on his chair.
I don’t know what percent of my life
is spent worrying about him.
Maybe I should calculate it,
but would that number change anything?
Sometimes I wonder how much Wicket worries.
I don’t think it’s anywhere near as much as I do.
I read Beckett and think about Wicket.
When I am drawing, I am thinking of Wicket
sleeping on the other side of the wall from me.
It can’t be that thick of a wall, only a few feet,
but it’s two different worlds.
He does worry when faced with a direct threat,
I think, like when the groundhog steals his lunch,
which happens often, actually.
Maybe Wicket worries about that.
I can’t wait for hibernation to start.
The groundhog can eat the entire lawn,
but he wants to steal Wicket’s cat food.
It’s just like the people on the tv news everyday.
It is a real shame that Wicket cannot trust humans,
but I understand where he is coming from.
He has the clipped ear indicating he has been trapped
and operated on, obviously without his permission.
This would be traumatizing for any creature
and especially one with a mammalian brain.
I think it broke his trust for humans.
He won’t let me touch him.
The only human I have ever seen touch Wicket
is a relative of mine who was visiting
and the cat did not hear him approaching the porch
and this person gave Wicket a gentle love poke on his neck.
Wicket nearly jumped out of his skin.
I think he has a little hearing loss.
That is how the love poke was able to happen.
Probably from something like ear mites (gross).
I would love to treat him for parasites,
to relieve just a little of his terrible “living outdoors” burden.
I have discovered he likes my voice.
I can get closer to him when I talk to him than when I am silent.
Somedays we are only inches apart.
Maybe he remembers belonging.
I’m told he came from the house down the street
where someone died unexpectedly, suddenly.
Two cats were turned onto the street from that house.
The other one lives with me and we are becoming great friends.
She has a rather tolerant perspective on humans.
Wicket is more difficult.
She was not captured and taken against her will, though.
She chose to be friends.
There is the difference in the attitude, I think.
It’s the same with humans.
I wonder if Wicket dreams about his human days.
It is getting colder.
I have improvised one shelter and am working on another.
But that isn’t going to cut it.
I researched the lowest temperatures for the past twenty years.
There will be bleak nights.
I’m wondering if the cold will break him.
It might lead to a breakthrough.
Or maybe it will go wrong and I will just get bitten.
Things are driven towards each other in the cold.
The landscape becomes bleak and we remember
we are social creatures.
It is funny the way he sits on the porch
or the steps or the sidewalk and looks about the neighborhood.
He clearly has claimed something
but just does not want the human part of it for now.
He stares when he wants something
but never cries for it.
He has perfected the art of manipulative staring.
There is no beseeching in it.
I never see any self-pity.
Sometimes I wish for some.
Perhaps I should compute the percentage of time
I worry about Wicket and the percentage of time
I worry about me, divide one into the other.
Just to know.
Just to know.

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William Keckler

Writer, visual artist. Books include Sanskrit of the Body, which won in the U.S. National Poetry Series (Penguin). https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/532348.