CatOber 2019: Cats, a Catbird, and the World

Greg Mort

Rob Carney

King Midas

I get that the guy’s an idiot,
but how is this the cat’s fault?

From claws and purring
to a golden coma,

from eyes full of lightning
to an object lesson in greed;

not her own greed either, the king’s.
He reached down to shoo her,

and clank.
She’s a passenger pigeon now,

and the rhino and wolverine
are next. Uncoil

a road through every forest,
and there go bears

along with all the salmon they eat.
Monarch butterflies

keep falling—too heavy—it’s hard to fly
when you’re a coin.

Just a few years left of golden litter.
And then empty air.

Karen Craigo

Ex Calls Here Kitty Kitty


When he lost the cat, he began 
to negotiate with air: Each day, 
he walked, he scanned, called, 
Come back and I’ll ____, 
but imagination failed. What 
are a cat’s demands? Along
with the old dog, he shuffled
down lanes, he prodded each 
flat carcass with a toe, and 
he didn’t give up. Months
went by, winter in Maine, 
the water all gone solid, 
air sparking with cold. Who 
could survive? But while 
there existed a maybe, 
a chance, that good Ex 
trudged and haggled.

Christine Klocek-Lim

Spring rainstorm at 3 am

This time
the rain held petals
in our mouths
until your eyes, dark as sleep,
turned perilously cool—
as upon

I couldn’t see
the mist through the curtains
though I knew it was there:

near dawn’s finger,
stretching through the dim,
exhausted movement
of waking.

You said
go back to sleep

and a catbird burst
into song right outside
the window.

Everything is complicated and true.
I don’t understand
much: not the decades
of longing,
the questions
we ask ourselves—

Why is the sky blue?

Why not wake

You dream of wind and rain;
I can see the images
moving beneath your eyelids
like waves on sand.

Love is like the fog
that walks accidentally
through the old stone foundation.
The dirt floor is wet
with too many
the storm surge salting
the earth.

I touch your shoulder
and will myself to sleep.
To dream, also
of you.
Behind my eyelids
the catbird’s dark eyes
hold secrets: winter is coming, but murder
is the crows’ forté.

The next time I wake up
the storm will have
gone on.

I can’t dream about anything
anymore without
imagining something else.

I’m not sure I ever could.

J. Bradley

For Samantha

Something you love won’t go
because she doesn’t know how to leave;
you have to be the one to say so. 

You want her to get better on her own.
When she won’t, you make deals, plea;
something you love won’t go.

You ask her to stop dying slow.
You give her water, beg her to eat, please;
you have to be the one to say so.

She won’t eat her favorite food, you know.
She doesn’t run when the dog lies near;
something you love won’t go.

You tell her to let go.
The vet looks in her eyes to reduce the fear.
Something you love won’t go.
You have to be the one to say so.

All about Greg Mort at EIL

More “Ex” poems by Karen Craigo in Work Poems, Labor Day 2019 and Birds of a Feather

Cat (& pug) comics by Gemma Corell at EIL

CatOber 2018 at EIL

CatOber 2017 at EIL

CatOber 2016 at EIL


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