Jan/Feb 2014 Poetry

Two Poems

by David Mathews

Image courtesy of British Library Photostream

Image courtesy of British Library Photostream

Where Did That Come From?

I remember sitting there,
staring at my shoes, which seemed
to be as big as a clown's,
while my stepdad was telling
a sliding scale shrink
how he knew I was just a kid,
but he couldn't help but hate
everything about me.

I don't remember what the shrink
said in response to my own
personal Grendel
who like his namesake,
struck usually after drinking,
when everyone else was asleep.

That mental portrait just popped
right into my head from nowhere,
while at a stoplight,
going home from a bad day at work.
Was that the trigger?
Or has it just been slowly
fighting its way back
to the center stage of my mind,
ever since I forgot?


Last Friday After Work

"I would fain know what she hath deserved."
     —from They Flee From Me by Thomas Wyatt

As I walked through the door,
your cloistered cat cried.
Her food and water dishes were empty.
I wondered, why you didn't feed your cat?

As I filled the dishes,
I sung lines from a Saw Doctors' tune,
I got loads and loads of patience,
And I'm just as proud as you...

Your cat refused to pass me.
She was probably afraid
it was some kind of trap.

It's hard to forget
those nights rolling around in sheets,
being clawed all over.

You didn't have time to feed her.
You were in a hurry.

The closet is now half full.

Yours drawers open and emptied.
Your side of the bed forever made.


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