Thursday, November 9, 2023

Old Bones

The ancient lady (who feeds the feral street cats) is out 

in the yard 

again this morning. The sky is a gray purple touch of pink and colors you would say were lies, Photoshopped. Unreal. 

The cats hide, not ready for breakfast. They yawn and stretch,

lick matted fur, bat at rivals. 

She is Baba Yaga without her chicken legged house, stuck in the middle of an urban block, and the cats do not appreciate, do not even notice her magic. 

They meow “too early. Go back to bed, woman.” 

But she doesn’t understand their feral language. 

They don’t care enough to understand hers. 

She is pouring water into bowls, crouching low to fill

each, coiling her snakinggreen water hose around her thin legs. It tries to trip her,

catch her unaware, and 

she ignores its secret, hidden malice

not yet tripped up.

Her sweater is red and thin, just like her bones, in danger of unraveling. Not enough calcium. (Babies take calcium to make bones, stealing away parts

to form their parts they will later disregard as they crouch low, kick, stretch). 

The cats steal other bits too, time, uncaring.) Perhaps this loss of bones happened to the lady with the red sweater, knitted out of time out of fate, Mme. DeFarge’s skein, judging all. 

Her bones

worn thin from children who never visit, so she fills the gap with feral 

cats. Who also

do not call 

but lounge, arrogant and needy, circling her,

in a long driveway where no one ever parks a car. 

Fall 23

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