CatOber 2021

Art by Maremi Andreozzi

It’s CatOber at Escape Into Life, when cats appear in poems, or pictures, in sometimes scary, sometimes sweet ways. Please click the poets’ names to see more of their work, and the artist’s name to see more of hers. And a real live cat at the end!

John Sweet

surrealist heart

cold rain tuesday morning and a
small handful of pills to turn
the pain into a dull ache

gotta choose between the gift
of self-hatred or the
gift of willful blindness

feed the cats
bury the children kiss the
wife good-bye

taste the cold blue light
that spills from her lips

always this same desperate
dream that the sun never died

Jeannine Hall Gailey

Birthday during a Pandemic
I’m writing a poem 
as the pink moon rises early 
above soggy cherry blossoms, nearly blown. 
I won’t ask for a present. After all, 
last birthday they told me I was dying 
of cancer. I believed them and yet  
I kept planting things. I got a kitten,  
signed a mortgage, learned a few 
words of a new language.  
Because for me, 
the only way to keep going  
is to keep writing the story 
as if it were going forward 
on the knife-edge of the future 
uncertain, shimmering in the distance… 
Now the same doctors tell me 
there are lesions in my brain,  
darkness eating away at my connections, 
my neural net growing holes.  
It is slowing me down 
but I have not stopped yet. 
I can no longer see the moon, the clouds 
a veil, but I trust it will remain,  
that ghost remote and clean, as quiet  
as my own heart as it  
remains, remains, remains. 

[first published in Capable]

Barbara Sabol

The Pursuit

My old molly curls in a spool of sunlight; her lean frame
spot lit on the back deck where she maintains a casual vigil
for the bobbed-tail squirrel who surprises us every season
with his continued existence.

The game is on when the squirrel wobbles atop the fence
then steps, zig by zag, down the chained-linked height.
He poses upright then at the yard’s border, small hands clasped
against his chest. Considers distance: from cat; from seed.

Cat and her mock quarry. A shudder runs the length of her
ginger frame when squirrel leaps to the feeder. Cat’s faint chatter,
half lurch. Squirrel, back up over the fence, waves what’s left
of that shorn tail. Scolds in a high squeal: Oh you, oh you!

Seconds sooner my girl could have pinned him by the scruff, but
as always, she dithers, possibly out of pity. More likely, to guard
the idle thrills of her easy life. And I, folded into my lawn chair
with a mug of tea, a book, say, Welcome, squirrel, welcome.


Yahia Lababidi

I’ve attached a picture of Pinnicho, family’s semi-wild cat who spends majority of his time outdoors. Often, the last set of eyes I see at night are his —- as I am heading to bed, turning off the lights in the house, there he is standing outside the kitchen window, eyes glowing in the dark.

CatOber 2020

CatOber 2019

CatOber 2018


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