SPOTLIGHT: My Father’s Ghost Hates Cats by Nolcha Fox

Buried Irony

This day we buried your ashes,
but we didn’t bury you.

At your grave I find
the marker clear,
just like every other year.
You rolled away the stones,
they couldn’t keep you there.
The cigar I left you
on the ground, unsmoked.
You must not like the brand,
and neither do the deer.

Your last nine months
above the ground
were on my table,
waiting for
the frozen earth
to let you in.

Even though you always planned,
you didn’t plan for this.
Wives who didn’t want you.
The daughter whom you didn’t want,
the daughter who forgave you,
loved you into the grave.

Dog Harness as a Metaphor for Life

It looks so simple
until I try
to put it on the dog.
Did I follow
the instructions?
Wait. These
are for
the coffee grinder.
The harness is
a tangled mess.
I’ve put
a leg hole
around her head.
And I can’t find
the other hole.
the dog stumbles
off with the leash.

Fault Line

I was a fault line, an open
wound, even before birth,
pushing parents, tectonic
plates, apart or
crashing, the air
thick with pain.
I thought I
could fix it by loving
them more, if not
hiding more.

I was a fault line, pushing
my brother away.
We tried to reach
across the chasm of
born too far apart.
He killed himself before
our hands could meet.
I wasn’t there,
too late to
fix him, save him.

When I am the
healed wound, faded,
finally disappeared,
will people say:

It was all her fault?

Here, Kitty

I’m not so small to the furry thing
I snatched from that hole for breakfast.
I tossed it up, daring it to fly,
until it was limp.
I left the tail in the kitchen.

I’m not so small to the feathered thing
I snatched from the fencepost for lunch.
It tried to fly. I bit its neck
until it was limp.
I left its legs at the front door.

I vibrate on your chest,
until you close your eyes.
Are you sure that’s a purr?

You could be dinner.

Killing Bindweed with Your Fangs

You are an asp,
asleep on my breast.
I color you green
to match your heart.

You say you love me,
you call me sister,
but you are the sister
of lies.

You rise up and
flare your hood,
judging me with
your eyes.

After so many bites,
so much poison,
I am sleepy
and ready to die.

I distract you with flowers
while I wrap you
in bindweed.
Try killing that.


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