Grace Cavalieri and Geoffrey Himes

Cat’s Cradle

At night the tomcats prowl.
One followed her home,
atop her armchair as if a jungle branch.
She strokes his belly,
feeling for the bottom of sorrow.
She sees the claws ready to spring,
hears the upholstery tearing.
He unbuttons her blouse.

Always the same surprise.
The wish is stronger than the past.
The setting sun wears a crimson hat.
The moon wears a swollen face.
Cats are mewing in her bed.
Cats are crying in her head.
So soft the fur, so soft the purr.
Red scratches on unsuspecting skin.
When the moon was full,
he was gone.


Black Dog

We abandoned her in the long ago rain.
Everything we didn’t love
is still in the house.


Here comes a dark and dangerous dog
scratching at the door.
Don’t let him in.


A woman lives in the attic,
though we didn’t invite her,
and we don’t want her.


The dog barks out her name.
We push aside the curtain.
Yellow eyes stare through the glass.


When visitors hear footsteps,
we make up stories
about raccoons and squirrels.


Does the dog belong to the woman?
Does the dog belong to us?
Will this rain ever stop?


A memory in every dream.
A woman in every attic.
A dog at every door.


These poems are a collaboration of Grace and Geoffrey, both of whom  appeared in Innisfree 35, Grace as the subject of our Closer Look series, and Geoffrey, whose poems also appeared in that issue.

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