|Jul/Aug 2018 Poetry|
Image courtesy of British Library Photostream
How My Cat Found Her Favorite Spot in My Room
Who would need narrative if memory were as faithful
as cement. Say when your pregnant pet cat dies or
is hunted by dogs—yes, precision matters—and you
sit to write a poem, but you don't really have what it takes
to describe the evening you buried her behind the house,
and so you think of the colour blue, and start writing
a poem about sky, water, the tea cup she tripped upon and broke
in heat—yet none of it catches
the sense of waking beside a body
stiffened by death. You try again. Made more honest
by your failure to write than by your loss, you describe
the honking of a truck in the background
while your muddy hands make
a pit in the ground. A Radio cardboard
case for a pine box, three roses, even rosary
since animals too must have gods.
I am doing well, you tell yourself.
And suddenly you give up.
You can't keep the pretence any longer—
it makes for bad writing.
She died, she died.
I am not as sad as I should be, you tell yourself.
We are more than the sum of our parts, you read that evening,
after washing the sheets she bled on.
At times, we are gloriously, shamelessly less.
You haven't yet written a poem, but a confession wriggled
from helplessness finally puts you to sleep
in the same spot you slept last night.