Paws and reflection
Spring. Gray ash. Black soot
thickening the air like gravy.
The devil must be beating his rugs.
Another dead and more feathers.
Blood on the wall and tile.
It’s the mystery of missing bones
that bothers me. No skulls
or wings. Not a spine left
in three days and three rooms.
And this from a cat whose canines
rotted free after 14 years
of dried food and the occasional
unlucky lizard. The larger mystery:
how he caught birds at the beach
with no trees and no nests.
Review by Zeke Sanchez
This poem requires the reader to make a leap from imagery about the devil to that of a cat. “The devil must be beating his rugs.” The poem quickly jumps to feathers and missing bones and the absence of wings and skulls. Clearly a cat has been at work here. My sympathy and admiration goes entirely to the cat “whose canines rotted free after 14 years . . .” For the poet there is the mystery of how the cat caught the birds on a beach with no trees or nests. For me the additional mystery is the presence of the gray ash in the springtime. A further mystery is “what” connects the imagery of ash and the beach, a potentially post-apocalyptic suggestion with the resourceful, aging feline. I admire the poem for its brevity, and for the poet’s willingness to pull disparate images together and to share his private projection.
Review by Jared Pearce
The title of this poem matches the pet area of my local cemetery—not that you need to know this, it’s just a fun fact. I do like the poem’s images and the speaker’s curiosity over the birds’ bones. I rather enjoy the larger mystery of how beings get whatever it is they’re doing done—sometimes it is amazing.