Bio Note: My eleventh collection of poems, Birkenstock Blues, was released by Presa Press (Rockford, MI) in 2019 and re-issued in 2020 in a revised edition. I live in Tucson with my wife Connie. I’m a passionate supporter of Sky Island Alliance, a regionally-based environmental organization.
I’ve been thinking lately about tsunamis, dreaming about them. We’re at the beach, working on our skin cancer, when the horizon starts trembling. I wake up, wondering why I can’t visualize the approaching wave, its height or velocity, its changing colors. I don’t mean stock images from disaster movies, the safe magic of CGI. A cruise ship swanning past, big as a city block, imagine a wave tossing her like a piece of driftwood? I can’t. Someone once told me what you can’t imagine can’t happen-- the shadow of the approaching wave rising against the buildings like night filling up the window when you raise the shade.
My mat smells like cat chow. As that old song “Somebody’s Watching You” doesn’t say, nobody’s watching you. Nobody’s watching me except both cats napping on their chair as I return to my breath, preparing for corpse pose. My teacher likes “hospice” as a metaphor for life. Why maim each other? We’re all patients here.
I wake up, eye-to-eye with the cat’s anus. He’s purring on my chest. Why me, oh, Lord? Like facetime with a rusty washer. I hear good things about the ungulates, their table manners, their clean plates. My kind of animal, sweet-smelling, modest, not like cats weaving between your legs, scent glands under their tails, rubbing until you smell like them, safe enough to love. Take my species, for example. I’m a person, p-e-r-s-o-n. Before the plague of white-eyes, each nation called itself “the people.” Take. my species Please.
©2020 Jefferson Carter
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