Mennonite Poetry Home | Robert Martens




at dusk the cats creep in. a
green moon glimmers in their eyes.
their coats are clean as night, their
ears perk to the scuttling stars,
their tails wave to the hunter's hush.
they remember the lairs of blind
birth. they slink into our homes,
they know the corners, the warm
hiddenness, the linted blankets of
destiny, they sleep. they remember
the extended claws of midnight, the
mouse's scatter, the sparrow's
shock, the prowl and pounce
and whirl and woe. they remember
the yowling of their blood. they
sleep. our houses sag like pillows,
soak up the night. they drowse.
they purr. our bones reverberate
to their chromatic chord. can't
you sleep, child? reach out ...
stroke the nape, rest your fingers
on the solace of the belly. the
darkness exhales. hours, years,
centuries, your heart beating backwards.

at dawn the dogs scramble in. they
yelp, wag, they flatter, they knock the
annoyed sun to earth. they remember
nothing. they want to rescue us,
be our best friends. the sun
careens down the expressway.
they slobber, pant, leap to fetch
the sunball. our cities are torched.
tonight we'll clean up the mess.
while the cats sleep.

© Robert Martens




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