LISA, ONCE

A phone call, a lawyer’s clerk:
Can you tell me about Lisa Landesman?
I pause for that is a name I have
not heard in forty years, save
in a poem I once wrote,
now long forgotten.

She was my sister for two
or three weeks, adopted like I was,
and then Mike, my then father
dropped dead of a massive
heart attack and she was soon gone.

We were Federal adoptions, our
birthplace under Federal law, not
getting its own for two decades,
and her adoption wasn’t final so she
was re-placed and never replaced.

She won’t inherit as I will from
my cousin who died having no
siblings, spouse, children,
nieces or nephews, who left
no will, who left only kind memories.

UNTIL

I was the adoptee,
was the whole for years, until.

It is always the until
that is your undoing, was
mine when she
remarried, then two births.

I was one third then, never
again truly whole and when
she died I discovered
in her will I was only
one twentieth, and
then never even that.

I want to forget her,
forget them, deny
them, but all I
know how to do is forgive.

MY LIFE AS A CAT

In my next life I think
I want to come back
as a cat, and not just any
cat, but a domestic
shorthaired spotted tabby.

I have it on good authority
that there is nothing finer
in the animal world
than being a domestic
shorthaired spotted tabby.

There will be much work
involved in the early days,
right after adoption, for
people tend very much
to be slow learners.

But with enough time,
the occasional well placed
claw, and earned affection
you can bend them
finally to your will.

At least that is what
my cat tells me in
moments of abject honesty.

HEAVEN KNOWS

His extended wings
momentarily block the sun
setting his feather tips ablaze.
His vermillion talons grasp
the waiting branch threatening
to break it from the tree
unless is bends to his will.
His curved beak arches
against an orange sky
holding tightly to
the retreating sun.
I can only watch
a majestic moment
and believe that somewhere
the must be a God
for nature alone could not
conceive of a creature
of such beauty, such passion.

ADMISSION

We do not like to admit
that nature laughs at us
as we pretend to bend her
to our will and desires.

We dam and reroute rivers,
but the river knows well
that it will return, flow
where it wishes, for it
will be here long after
we have returned to the soil.

Still, now and again nature
grows weary with our meddling
and unleashes her fury
in ways we are incapable
of stopping, and laughs
when we seek divine
intervention from the utter
depths of our powerlessness.

BECAUSE, JUST BECAUSE

The cat is stalking around the house, wary. She gets this way after coming back from the vet. She actually likes the vet, and not only for the treats she gets, and the pawdicure. But she must stalk and be wary so we will be remorseful for having taken her to the vet. And she knows we will be, given enough time and back turning. We are so predictable. She wonders if we were like that with our children when they were young. Probably, but we must have forgotten. So she will go on with our training, for a cat must bend humans to her will. That is an unwritten law of nature.

ME, MYSELF NOT I

It would be so much easier
if I had a twin brother,
and not merely a doppelganger.

Doppelgangers are nice enough
but they are never around
when you most need them
and the refuse to take the blame
for your actions, although
they are willing to blame you
for theirs, an ugly imbalance.

Idential twins have advantages
if you can bend them
to your will, for there are
many things that you
cannot avoid but wish to,
and who would know if you
sent your twin in your place.

But you could be that twin
always going to things
your twin wanted to avoid,
so maybe it is best to be you,
at least people know
you or who they think you are.

AN OVERHEARD CONVERSATION

“It will never be what you think it should,
and not what you wish it to be,
unless by pure happenstance, so just
relax and allow things to happen as they will.”

“I know I can change the outcome, have
it conform more to my will with enough effort,
if others like you don’t get in the way,
so sit back and I will gladly show you.”

“Do what you wish, I won’t be a problem,
but when it doesn’t work out, do not
come to me complaining about the time
you wasted and I won’t say ‘told you so.'”

“Fine, then just sit there and watch,
but when the fish jump into my mouth
please remember they are mine and you
still have to dive for your dinner.”