Not On My Watch!

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Not On My Watch!

The black-and-white cat
sits in the window and watches
the ginger cat who lounges on the porch
and watches the five deer
who stand in the woods at the garden’s foot
and watch the neighbor’s little dog
who watches the raccoon
who disdainfully removes the garbage can lid
and fishes out the food, scattering
paper and wrappers and cans
as four crows sit in the tree and watch
the wind as it whistles the papers
round and round in a windmill
that wraps itself round the feet
of another neighbor who is watching
the raccoon with open-eyes
as a seagull flies above him
and bombs him from above,
damn seagulls, and the bird poop
falls right on my neighbor’s watch face
and he cries out
“Oh no, not on my watch!”

Red Star

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Red Star

“Fly me to that red star,
the one outside the window.”
Teddy’s voice droned
its mosquito in my ear,
but made no sense.

“I’ll try,” Owl said.
I hadn’t noticed him there,
snuggled in beside me.

“That’s not a star,” I said.
“It’s a planet, Mars.
It’s in conjunction with Venus,
that other bright blob.”

Owl flapped his wings
and flew out of the window.
Up and up he went
until he faded out of sight.

“He’s gone,” said Teddy.
“He’ll never come back.”

But return he did and
“A star too far,” he said,
as he pulled up the blankets
and snuggled into bed.

“It’s not a star,” I said,
but my words were ignored
by the snores emerging from
two nodding, sleepy heads.

The Return

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The Return

I opened the car door
and he ran across the parking lot
and jumped into the back seat.

“Where have you been?” I asked.
He thumped his great tail, sniffed,
and licked the hand I placed on his shadowy head.

As we drove back home, he thrust his head
between the seats and placed his paw upon my shoulder.
Then he licked my ear and the side of my face.

I pulled into the garage and let him out of the car.
He raced to the end of the drive, surveyed the neighborhood,
and drilled an invisible pee into the snow.

I whistled, and he ran back to the door,
whimpering and scratching, impatient.
I held the door open and he bounded in.
“You’re back home now,” I told him.

He ran to the cat’s bowl and lapped some water,
scoffed her kibble, and lay down in his usual place.

At night, he lies beside me in bed,
a fluffy spoon carved into my body’s curve.
In the morning he walks through the kitchen
and doesn’t make a sound.
The cat senses he’s there and bristles and hisses
at rainbow motes dancing in the sun.

He’s sitting beside me now,
head on my knee, as I type these words,
one-handed, because I’m scratching him
in his favorite spot behind the ear.

Vixen

 

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Vixen

Meductic,
New Brunswick.

She climbs up from the head pond
a ripple of red and orange over the highway.

 As quick as a fox, they say:
black socks, brush winter-thick
held high and proud,
as quick as a shadow
melting into dark woods
on the highway’s far side.

She is followed by her cub
who is not quite as quick.
He is struck by a truck
and ground into the gravel.

 The fox-stink of memory
clings to my nostrils
like slow-motion death
dreamed at night
frame by bitter frame
.

 Now a night-time of silence
falls from the lips of fading lovers.

Raccoon

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Raccoon

Two footprints on the dew damp chair
show that he has been here.

We know he visits at night.
The cat wakes up, jumps off the bed,
leaps to the window, and hisses.
Then she falls silent.

The raccoon steals food from the feeder
and shuffles the pottery shards
we leave out to gather water for the birds.

We never see him.
Sometimes we hear him grunt;
occasionally the wind chimes rattle furiously
as if caught by a giant gust..

We peer into the dark,
turn on the outside lights,
but his absence greets us
like a long lost friend.

Last night, nothing:
this morning, an empty feeder,
those footmark in the dew on the chair:
we know he was there.

Full Moon Fading

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Full Moon Fading

Full Moon fading outside my window
still draws up water, attracts high tides,
drags the wolves by their drawstrings
struggling, bedraggled, out of my chest.
Soon to be invisible, they clutch and claw
as they climb the moon path’s golden light.

The piper has paid his rent and packed
up his pipes, leaving me at last alone.
A silence rules my lungs. Five deer stand
silent in the woods beneath my window
and I watch them as they watch the piper go.

My body’s house lies drained and empty.
The Fading Moon flushed out my body,
leaving it high and dry like a great white whale
abandoned, breathless, on a summer shore.

It’s all over now, the cough, the splutter,
the sharp reality, the aches and pains
that told me I was alive. I miss my music.
I miss the swish and roar of my incoming,
outgoing breath. I miss those Full Moon
fingers tinkling the tides of my inner being,
making me strive to keep myself alive.

Pibroch

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Pibroch

This morning, the bailiff, Mr. Kovdrop,
evicted the two gnomes from my lungs.

Landlord Bodie placed an ad on Kiji
then rented the free space in the left lung
to a tiny piper who took up residence by my heart.
This piper piped a pibroch, sad to play,
on his worn and wheezy bagpipes.

A pack of miniature wolves infiltrated
the midnight forest flourishing in my other lung.
When the pibroch played, they pointed their noses
at that spot in my throat where the full moon
would have been, if she could have broken in.
They mingled their howls with the bagpipes caterwaul
and I lay awake all night with my heart beating
arrhythmic suspicions on its blood red drum.

The drum played, the pibroch wailed, the wolves howled
and my body lay scarred by an absence of moon and stars.