CAT’S GAME

The cat is sleeping on the lanai, on the plant table among the bromeliads. The cat spends hours sleeping on the lanai when she isn’t walking on tables. There are tables on the lanai she walks on regularly. Walking on tables is forbidden we repeatedly tell her and we know she understands, but the cat reminds us that forbidden in a transitory term when you are a cat. Cats, she says, must go where they want, consequences be damned. And, she adds, I know you will always forgive me.

I WAS, BACK THEN

Fifteen years ago, I tell them,
I was invincible, nothing bothered me,
nothing held me back and even
the few surgeries were short
rest stops on a runner’s highway.

I knew it would last forever, I
knew I was kidding myself.

Now, aging, I am held together
by titanium and injections,
trying to fall apart with
as much grace as possible.

My little problems are now
chronic, degenerative
and progressive, yet I live on
for there is no good alternative,
and hope that medicine finds
solutions before my problems
completely overtake me.

WEATHER KARMA

It never rained
when I visited Senso-ji
and Todai-ji Temples.
I attributed this to good
fortune, the Buddha
clearing the skies
for my visit.
The young monk
said the Buddha
cares nothing
for weather, so
I should thank
the Japan Meteorological
Agency although they
never seem to give
him the weather
he truly wants.

ODE TO THE HOUSE CAT

I have concluded that God created the cat
in a moment of exhaustion or of extreme pique.
How else to explain such a soft fur covered creature
capable at once of a gentle caress and a claw
lunging out at a hand or face deemed too close.
Why else this projectile constantly launched
only at those places it was not to be,
fine wood tables etched with reminders
of its sudden presence and rapid departure.
What else to explain this shedding ball
of multihued fur that always curls in sleep
in the one place you wish to sit
and even when it cedes a seat to you, smirks
in the realization you will soon
an unexpectedly be half covered in fur.
Why this package of fluff and terror crawls
beneath your blanket as you verge on sleep
curls tightly against you and begins its gentle
rhythmic purring that draws you deeply
into a world of fur filled dreams.

First Published in ZOOANTHOLOGY, Sweetycat Press, August 2022

MOVING DAY

In my dream last night
I was moving a matress, queen sized,
probably with box springs but
it was wrapped, from my parents’ home
to my apartment, but not using
a vehicle, just pushing it
along the streets, obeying
all the traffic signals, using
my turn indicators, although
don’t ask why a mattress had
turn lights, just accept that it did.
It was arduous work, and I
hoped I’d soon get to the hill
that led down to my apartment,
for it would make the end
of the journey easier by far.
Unfortunately I never did
get there, I woke up first
wondering what the dream meant.
So if you can help me, I would
greatly appreciate your insights,
and you should definitely know
it was a Serta Perfect Sleeper
for I’m sure that makes a difference.

EMPTY PLATES

The old gods have taken
up residence is small casitas
on the edge of Saguaro
National Park outside Tucson.

It isn’t Olympus, but the
property taxes had become
unsustainable with so few
bothering to offer tributes.

They have gotten over
their jealousy of the new
gods living in the valley,
with their European

villas, yachts and getaways,
for the old gods know well
how it will all end: there
will be no phoenixes when

the end approaches and
the newer still gods offer
their answer to prayers
not then yet even imagined.

STOIC

He will do it again tomorrow as he did yesterday and each day before that for as long as he can remember. He would like not to have to do it, but he knows he must, just as he knows the outcome will be almost the same, just the slightest of changes imperceptible from day to day. He doesn’t like the changes, and wishes he could reverse them. But although he has asked, the morning mirror says he cannot. And the mirror is not smiling.

NO CLICHES HERE

The birds in this part of Florida
have found a way around the cliche
and we are thankful they have done so.

As we saw last week when
the neighbor’s yard was regraded,
and before the new sod arrived,
the “soil” was mostly sand
and there was not a worm
to be found anywhere.

Yet the birds, early and late
got all they wanted to eat,
for their meals are insects
so from now on I shall have
no alternative but to work
to death the phrase, “the early
bird catches a few insects.”

Do you think it will get any traction?

YOU’RE OUT OF HERE

The gods have ceased
to care about us, too
busy with other more important
tasks like fighting their
pending evictions from
Olympus and Asgard.

And the demigods have
never given a damn
about us, always preening
and imagining their
elevation, so we are left
to muddle along and we
know how that has worked
through history, so we
have turned away, anointed
ourselves, declared we
are holy and built a heaven
and hell as a final middle
finger to the once gods
who can all go to hell.