Monday’s Verse 5/11/2015

Readers:

yet another amazing poem from our favorite septagenarian Michigander, Diane Wakoski. I found this poem on Friday night as I was leafing distractedly through her 1995 epistolary-physics treatise-poetry collection Medea the Sorceress, while simultaneously mourning the death of my well-loved, well-traveled, 17-plus-year-old cat, Gonzalez. How many of you had the chance to meet Gonzalez? Show of hands: wow, that’s a lot.

Well, she was a good cat, I’ll leave it at that. Her rapid descent this spring into decrepitude this spring didn’t make me cry. Her dying on a Wednesday, peacefully, in her little cat bed on the sun porch didn’t make me cry. Burying her didn’t make me cry. Coming home from work for the first time without her to greet me didn’t make me cry. But the final stanza of this remarkable poem–now that is a different matter altogether.
-ed.

40°

Agatha, the long-haired calico

from next door, who can

squeeze through a space the size of

a wedding ring,

walks delicately through the November-

bare

garden.

Each glimpse of her

white paws

against the damp earth

and their graceful engine movements

is a sputter of old images,

a face

I cannot forget, the man

whose tool room

was either perfectly organized

or a jumble.

When it

became too jumbled

he left me for

another lover.

I will not ever see this almost-winter

garden, the neighbor’s cat

swiftly and precisely climbing down

from the now empty summer’s arugula bed

without thinking of the fact

that living has not prepared me

to die. I failed at all the

tests–lost ungracefully,

always complained and fussed that

things were never fair.

Agatha’s white paws,

fastidious little tools which take her often

where she is not supposed to be,

move rapidly over

the dark earth this morning;

the desert motorcyclist

riding at dawn,

the crouched boxer

dancing under the speed bag,

the man who carves messages

on the large waxy leaves of the

autograph tree–

not te amo

but tempus fugit.

And I watch from the window

while motion is not the

passage of time,

but reconciliation of failed images/

the cat moving

as I never moved,

I standing still,

as I have always stood,

watching,

out of time, out of step,

but not timeless,

only

out of time.

-1995

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