Forced By This Title to Write a Poem in Third Person About Himself, the Poet Considers the Phenomena of Standing Waves, Dreams Involving Long-Lost Cats (Even If He Has Not Had Such a Dream Himself), And the Amazing Durability of Various Forms of Weakness
Five White cat always made sure no rats gnawed my books.
— Mei Yao-ch’en
His brain is squirming like a toad.
— Jim Morrison
Standing by the water, the poet wonders if,
as in this dream, his dead dog and Five White
might seize the separate ends of a rope and blend
their tugs, matching highs and lows, growls and purrs,
with near stillness, dawn to dusk and back again,
always equal, sharing through death their love
of work and honor. He throws a small branch
and asks the dog’s ghost to fetch, but it remains
at his side, as if reluctant to leave. How to release
what you no longer hold? Shadows disappear in direct
light, but always return at its departure. The
raindrop remains intact through its long plummet.
Words, though unspoken, hang like lofted kites
awaiting a new wind, a separate rhythm,
beyond compassion. He cannot hear it
but joins his dog in singing. The cat yowls along.
This piece first appeared in deLuge in fall 2016, and was drafted during the August 2015 30-30 challenge. Thanks to Jeff Schwaner for providing the title (which I edited for publication).