In Regards to my Cat

It’s not my iPhone’s alarm 
but that familiar purr that stirs me awake.
As he sits with his paws buried underneath all that gray fur looking out the window, swallowing sunlight with each slow blink,
I wonder if he was up all night.

My last conscious glimpses of the world were complete darkness.
You know, it’s not true what you tell yourself when you’re a kid;
Age is no shield against fear.
And trust me: I confirm it every night of my twenty-fifth year the moment I turn off the lights.
But who would’ve guessed that my cat would be the only difference between a room filled with demons and a haven for safe dreaming?

See, what could’ve been the harrowing creature from that horror movie trailer I knew I shouldn’t have watched creeping towards my trembling body
was actually simply my playful kitten enthusiastically pulling on the bed covers.

What could’ve been a ghost with an abyss for a mouth ready to consume me whole in my paralysis
was only the sight of my tiny feline chasing his own shadow on the walls.

What could’ve been a prison where they drown me in buckets of my own loneliness was merely the kingdom my little tiger reigns with energetic authority
over dangling earrings
and loose threads
and that one toy mouse I got him that he doesn’t like to play with unless it’s 3 am.

What could’ve been the reminder that all this time was a waste,
that I’m not going anywhere,
that I should just give up, wave my white flag, call it a day,
is only that familiar purr helping me drift and then stirring me awake.

And every morning,
I open my eyes to him staring out the window feigning complete boredom,
almost as if to say, “Hey, it’s no big deal. There’s nothing to fear.
It’s not as though I was fighting monsters all night while you slept.”