There are some kittens I'm planning to catch. The five of them live with their mother on the hillside between The Mark Twain House and its accompanying museum, acting out an idyllic cat life in the bushes and sleeping in a green drainpipe. I have caught kittens before, in my previous life in the South Bronx. I caught them then to bind myself closer to my friends there and to the community-- well, actually, I would have caught them no matter what, but at the time there was something incredibly special about picking up these small sickly creatures, seemingly born out of the toxic rubble of our neighborhood, and placing them amongst the things I'd collected over the course of my life, and letting the kittens mess everything up. They ruined things, those kittens. Plants and books and furniture and evenings. At the time I was unemployed and I spent hours lying on my stomach on the ground waiting for them to be a little less wild and come one inch closer. After a while my very good friends adopted them and they all live together now. It was one of the greatest times of my life, hanging out with those cats and an essay about them to get into graduate school.
Later I did it again, beginning with a tiny black kitten so small that he looked like an underfed bat. He slept on my pillow and hung out for a few days in my tshirt drawer (by his own choice). His brother joined us, wounded and shy, and now they both live very happy lives in suburban New Jersey.
So, back to the Twain kittens. Of course I want to save them. There are hawks on the property. But it's more than that-- I want to be a person who saves things, who keeps things alive beyond a writer's legacy. I want the kittens to remind me of what it was like to be alone in an apartment, not knowing where you or they were going, not caring what was ruined as long as their safety was preserved.