In my family, when any one of the women of my grandmother’s generation dreamt of fish she would get on the phone to confer with the others about who of the younger generations was pregnant. They knew the news would be coming soon.
One night, early on, in her bed—in the sleep after—I dreamed of cats knocking over fishbowls, and since I woke up sad I seemed to have known what it meant.
Before we headed to our days, we had coffee on her front steps in the early air. Her neighbor’s tomcat, a muted black—scar-tissue-and-muscle-swollen head, neck, and shoulders—proportioned like a bulldog and yet graceful, paced a perimeter around her yard and did not come into our space.
Out of the hedge a tortoiseshell tabby tom stray tipped through leaf litter and stopped short of the perimeter. Gray tom—relaxed and ready—sank. His skin—a rippleless pond reflecting a granite sky—still save the twitch of his erratic tail—a dragonfly darting. They blew together in a squall.