Bio Note: Cats are the lions we live with. That's what this March's theme of lions and lambs sparked in me. Although I'm a dog person, I've lived with a few cats. I'm looking forward to publication of a new chapbook, Checkered Mates, later in 2021. For more poetry, visit triciaknoll.com
Katrina’s Cat Eyes
Katrina ripped the face off the saint in the Catholic church, warped the pews. Bloated up dogs roadside. The old black woman showed me through FEMA chain link how God points his angry finger. The journalist barricaded himself in to protect his son’s nursery and then watched soldiers haul body bags. Treacherous trees at Tulane. K’s kickass funeral in the French Quarter, mummers, trumpets and saxophones. Collapsed silence in the Ninth. The picture of the altar boy in communion robes buried in mud. Those stories. My story is of the white cat, a skeletal whiteness hiding where live oaks had no leaves left to lose. She skulked, suspicious green eyes under an oily blue Honda. A battered aluminum tray of cat kibble swarmed with yellow jackets under the passenger side. Searchers spray-painting orange counts, had come and gone – yellow jackets and this cat all that moved on a side street of squashed homes and tipped hydrants. I left water. I ripped ham from dry FEMA bread. This silence of skin-and-bones still brushes my low-boot memory.
The Yard Sale
This neighborhood optimist daring to host outside the confines of a garage, a lawn of old sleeping bags, ragged winter mittens, fuchsia candles, calico potholders, a “used only once” bbq smoker, and an end table with a leg that wobbles. All that I need is there. A replacement beer glass for the one you dropped on the front porch and a cat’s eye marble with a thrill of purple running through the center so I don’t need to adopt a cat.
Fortunes for the Cookies of the Twenty-First Century
Be grateful you can breathe. Encourage flowers to shrink to seeds. Your horrible secret? Tell it to a dog. The lover you seek knows your secret. When six vultures show up in a newly hayed field, assume there are dead rodents. If your cell phone tells you your weight, throw it in the river. Treat all creatures as sentences from a holy text. Plant creatures also respond to change. Heart attacks do not require arrows. If you are served tongue, you do not have to swallow it. Remember Voyager. The sky is not the limit. Redefine sanctuary. Light the candle that smells of blue spruce. The stone Buddha under snow is still the Buddha.
©2021 Tricia Knoll
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