I have two poems in this issue:
Small dabbling duck,
wallow in freshwater,
mince your steps on the sticky fronds
rest your blue bill on your speckled chest
like a dignified dowager
looking down her nose.
Fashionable in your touches of sapphire
on breast and wings,
your color is more blue than
what the paint store calls teal,
something more moody than
more matte than satin.
The Cat and the Fireworks
At the first volley of fireworks,
unseen except for flashes
of lightening like light,
the calico cat sprang to alert.
leapt to the windowsill,
retreated under the bed,
then emerged and sprang to the
top of the bureau.
A low growl rumbled from
a sound I never heard her make before.
Deep, rolling growl
sound radiating through fur
as she watched from
her patrol post
for the duration of the fireworks.
She became the cat in someone’s bedroom
on the first night of the Blitz.
She became the cat distracted from catching rats in the church
as the planes rained down fire and boulders.
She became the cat cowering in the doorway
When the Americans bombed Saddam
back to his bunker.
All the cats
in all the arrowstruck, cannonstruck
cities down the centuries,
terrified, growling deep,