All we have lost is brightly lost.
Do Unto Others at Best American Poetry
Institution Mix Tape with Woodie Guthrie at Massachusetts Cultural Council
In the Absence of Sparrows at Academy of American Poets
Barrow Street Summer 2006 Issue
There, then not. A late summer whiff of something gone. It depended on the wind. I checked the trash, after Ebele asked— no maggots, no rancid fat globbing the bin’s lid—hunted through bushes, bellied under the latticed front porch. Tuesday, Wednesday: 85, 90 degrees. The stink massive. A squirrel, a raccoon? Too rank to be a chickadee wind-swept from its nest. My panic grew. Now, I think I know why. I waded into shoulder-high hydrangeas, greened with blooms, parted the branches—a blue plastic bag, beer bottle cap, a skull-shaped rock. Then I saw it—a patch of white, matted there, sticks piercing the spongy form. I covered my mouth & nose, retreated to the bulkhead for leather gloves, a bandana, & a small coal shovel. As I worked, I made out hind legs, splayed, the orange & white marbled fur—carrion beetles writhed, quaking, once more, the belly of my neighbor’s cat. What do I do with the body? I asked Ebele. This was the cat that leapt from a tree onto the roof of the red Colonial on Delano & survived for weeks, eluding firemen who telescoped their ladder out, this the cat, while I sat at my desk each morning to write, that padded down the front steps of my elderly neighbor’s house, jumped the chainlink & crossed the boulevard, stepping between magnolias. Your calico cat, I fear, has died in my hydrangea bush, I started the letter to my bed-ridden neighbor. Though we needed to get rid of the body, though the heat thickened & soured, I spent hours laying down my words, striking, double-striking them, starting, again. This, I needed to get right.