Cats feature large in my world.
Just when I think I am writing a poem about death
A cat appears in the second paragraph
When I am drawing a portrait of my husband
He sprouts whiskers and pointy ears.
At the opera listening to Un bel di vedremo
I can hear meows
And Madame Butterfly swishes a furry tail.
I own a cat, in fact
Who features large in my world.
When someone has a secret
And is all hush hush about it
Winking and hinting about its power
The more it’s a secret
The more I want to know
Tease it out
Ask twenty questions
Bribe the fucking secret succubus
With my own
Very worn out secrets
Such as they are
But since they are my only trade goods they
Will have to do. Admittedly
I am not a very good negotiator
Too lazy to lie.
My mother took most of her secrets to the grave
Never spelled out but tantalizing
Now I’ll never know
And with my mother I had nothing to trade
She knew all my secrets already.
I am married to a man
So disconnected that when I ask him if he likes Beyoncé
He says who?
Never mind I respond
He tells me about router bits and
The presidency of John Adams
He shoots arrows and throws knives and plays the piano
But he does not know about the riots in Minneapolis.
He is deeply concerned about the machinations of tyrants in the 19th century
But does not read the news.
Sometimes I play a popular song for him
Isn’t it great, don’t you like it? I ask
And he agrees and says he loves it very much
Hearing Mozart in his head.
When I show him an article about current events
Or a political meme that is funny
He asks, can’t we just look at cute cats?
I say fine
Because I like cute cats as much as the next guy.
That afternoon was
Sunny and a little bit warm.
I was dawdling and doddering looking at green things
Pulling up weeds
Teasing the soil
Like I said, just passing the time
When I saw something move between the stones
A garden snake, scaled black and yellow
He had a small flat head and an honest-to-god forked tongue.
The next day digging in the dirt it was
Cold out but I wasn’t chilly
Because the sun was shining and I was hard at work.
I saw my snake again
This time on the other side of the path
In different rocks.
It slithered away, wouldn’t look me in the face.
Now I find myself searching for the snake everywhere
Calling to it in sibilant whispers, come
I have decided
It will be one of my spirit animals
Joining the possum, skunk and chipmunk in that role.
I am allowed to have multiple spirit animals
So long as they are small.
Just desserts please. I will
Skip the main course
And concentrate on ice cream
With high butter satisfaction
Mixed with sweet gleanings all
Piled high atop one
Crusty maple apple panacea drunk
With whipped custard and
Scented vanilla. Also
Bring me a bubble of wine please
Dark burgundy and aromatic
With a long stemmed smoked glass.
Bring me a mirror and the house phone
My lipstick is faded
I must speak to the chef and
Kiss him in gratitude, my
Lips and tongue
Black as ashes and colorless as anisette.
On the rocky hillside next to my house are
In my official Guide
A volume over 300 pages long
Sectioned by color
Only four pages are devoted to orange blossoms.
Mine are identified as
Which are related
They are fragrant and upright, not too tall
Scented heady and sweet
In the sun, I watch the bees
And the rocks.
I watch the flowers
Orange as rare as diamonds.
Okay, this is a story
It just trails off at the end
Without any great denouement
No glorious coda
Just a slump backwards and a sigh
A woman alone with her dimming fantasies.
It all started
One hundred plus years ago, believe it or not
There was a girl
And out of fucking nowhere she dreams about love
She is twelve years old
And although in time she reads some books
That touch upon her sensibilities
She meets not one person in all the years that follow
Who shares her dream
Who complements her need
Not one fucking person.
And then she gets old
And her ankles hurt
And her fantasies wear out and can’t be darned
So she says.