CatOber 2017

Martin Wittfooth

Catherine Moore

Lines Written As We Sit on Our Cement Stoop Drinking Peridot-Green Wine, Leaning on Handrails Where the White Cat Perches, Ridiculously Like a Cloud 

so much for sentimental, you finally say
then fluster in a litany of sadness, 

I begin to see the art in losing—
most things only need the tenderness
that God gives to them
, I answer.

Jessy Randall

We lie on top of the bed covers,
a cool breeze wafting over us.
“This feels like our honeymoon,”
says my perfect husband.
We smile at each other.
Then, not ten seconds later,
we hear the unmistakable sound
of the cat vomiting in the hall.

Rob Carney

Part Moon, Part Wing, Part Spark

A wolf knows twenty-eight names for the moon.
A hawk knows a hundred for the sky.
But cats have none
for what their hearts want most:
the other side of the door.
No, they talk with their bodies,
that leaning,
like the held breath of the wind,
and their tails they know you’ve noticed,
and those eyes—more wildness in the flicker there.
Nothing said, but a howling out indicated,
and green scents carried from the north,
and a need to run their claws along
some other body . . . let me in. I’ve decided
to bring you my purring.
Let-me-out let-me-out. And ’round again.


When I Wake Up in the Morning
When I wake up in the morning I lie there for a while wanting to die. Then I perform minute measurements of my own happiness, calibrating the instrument to the width of a cat’s whisker, adjusting for everything I can think of. For me, sleep is like Soviet Russia, very difficult to get out of, you have to fill out lots of paperwork which, while you’re filling it out, puts you to back to sleep, so now you’re sound asleep in Soviet Russia and unlikely to get anything done, especially with this cat using her claws to take away your pen and biting it. Where was I. Trying to get out of bed, but first let me just write this down. The next thing I do is hate everyone and everything for a while, until it gets too tiring. One hundred years of worrying can fit into the next five minutes with worries getting ever further afield until it’s my personal responsibility to solve gender inequity and the oversexualization of preschool-age girls. Then some stretching and thinking about breakfast and that means I’m almost actually up, which is why it’s time for the cat to come and sit on my chest for nine hours. And ratchet up her baleful look when I finally move to push her off.

Rob Carney

“Tell Us a Bedtime Story”

A whirr first
under the porch light

before you can see: a night-lost
hummingbird? a chunk

of fallen-down moon?
It can’t be a moth, not that big,

but it is.
There’s plenty to amaze you. 

My cat likes lining them up
across the floor,

eight broken

Then he looks at me
like Make them play again

Here’s a way to disorient:
Fly straight at the eye

and hover. That’s a hummingbird.
And here’s a way

to seem like you’re running: downriver,
then wait like a pool.

Millie used to do that: run just ahead
and then turn.

She’d like these moths,
both fragile and fantastic,

like something from the pages of a book—
the ones on her dinosaur shelf—

though I’m guessing is all.
We haven’t talked in years.

What else will my cat attack?
Mice, of course, and birds,

and even a dog in the alley once:

from the fencepost.
Who knows why?

Rivers return forever—into clouds,
then into snowpack—

but the hummingbird moths
aren’t coming back around.

Just one-time

I can tell from my cat: because
he’s uncoiled now,

no longer crouched
for hunting.

And the whirring
is only traffic,

so that’s that;
I can leave off the porch light.

The moon can cross from the grass
to the sidewalk.

The sirens
can take their slice of night.

Maybe some rain soon. Maybe tomorrow.
My cat will sleep. 

CatOber 2016

CatOber 2015

CatOber 2014, Part 1: Cat-at-Strophe

CatOber 2014, Part 2: In Cat Country

Rob Carney and Cats

and Lana Hechtman Ayers has a cat poem!

Martin Wittfooth at EIL

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