Green as the cat's eyes reflected in the pane
for Sunday Muse #149.
for Sunday Muse #149.
When they held him against their black habits,
he seemed to vanish as thoroughly as worldly temptations.
The nuns bake Russian black bread
and share with Beelzebub, who is what he eats.
"Such a naughty kitty," scolds Sister Robert, more fond than mortified.
Where is Beelzebub? Is he
walking up and down the earth, seeking the grail
of a fish skelly in a silver garbage pail?
Or is he wandering the tile rooftops,
closer to Heaven than the nuns?
Beelzebub is visiting Bathsheba, a woman of certain skills.
She picks him up and holds him against her camisole
where he vanishes as thoroughly
as a married man in the morning.
"Such a naughty kitty," she scolds, but smiles.
Beelzebub does not blink, but rumbles like Barry White.
Where is Beelzebub, why here he is,
back from wherever he was
and smelling like Tabu.
He jumps on the table and inspects a loaf,
vanishing behind it like a hidden desire.
"Such a naughty kitty," says Sister George, but she loves him as God loves her,
Beyond reason, and forever.
for The Sunday Muse #148 where I am hosting this week.
said by the stable hand to portend death.
She could see the moon like an ornament on the dawn,
or the bulge of an apple in my coat pocket,
but not her double dipping its head as if weary from its own mimicry.
Aunt June said she has to see it, the way we saw owls in the barn rafters.
If she doesn't, it's just foxfire
the devil dancing on a rotten log.
She won't get moon eye from a dream.
All spring and into the summer the double stayed,
unfed, unbidden, inexplicable.
Rain on the roof sounded like snap beans.
Sun made the ground stream, ghosts rose, bewildered.
An old horse collar fell from its nail
though it never had before.
After that, we stopped seeing the double, and Aunt June said
that's the way of things, girl,
but it gave me a peculiar feeling,
like hearing a handsome boy tell a bald-faced lie.
Joyriding to Nightfall by Joan Colby
a song that sings you, whether you love it or hate it,
persistent as a blow to the head.
While all this is going on, you must smile,
set the table properly, oyster fork to the far right.
Lay a linen napkin across the mocking lie.
Walk through the funhouse to your job,
your marriage, the gibbet of your identifying papers.
Become an object of hilarity if you finally birth yourself.
In short, do anything but this, and then
cut a rug, or your wrists, when all other options expire.
We are the girls half gone by the time we start,
Brave, gorgeous, cursed, strangers even to ourselves.