Sunday, August 9, 2015

Cat and I by May Swenson


Cat and I

Heat of the sun on wood of the deck. Spread flat,
my body accommodates to hardness on the worn boards.
Cat fools with my foot, trying to make my big toe
stay in her ear. She gets bored when you’re not here.

House feels hollow, without vibration, asleep.
No sudden bumps or door-slams, no shuffled dishes,
no water rushing in the tub, or outside from the hose.
Vacuum’s snarling inhale, hedge clipper’s chatter—
any welcome racket would make the little cat leap up,

land four-footed like a springbok, and race downstairs
to see what you are making happen. Instead, all is
neat and peaceful. Phone never rings. Or, if it does,
receiver waits long to be raised.

If you were here, I wouldn’t be this flat, sunbathing
a whole morning on the deck, half hearing the far
gargle of a helicopter over the bay. I get lazy when
you’re away. I have to feel guilty that I don’t do
all the Things To Do on today’s list.

Whether I ought, or not, I’m blaming it on you
that kitten doesn’t spring. Slow, from inside, wags
the old Seth Thomas pendulum. And from below I hear
the suspended slaps of the tide.

Kitten has quit fooling with my toe. She’s collapsed
in the shade under the overhang, her blond belly-frill
barely moving with her breath, heavy little bucket-head
dropped on paws. The crossed blue eyes are shut.


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