More poems from

before it's LIGHT


I move thru the first
floor at 3 AM past
the cat who is curled
in a chair half made
of her fur, turning
her back on air
conditioning, startled
to find me prowling
in the dark as if I was
intruding on stars and
moon and the ripple
in water that spits
back the plum trees.
Grass smells grassier.
The clock inches slowly
toward the light. A
Creak of wood and the
soft scratch on the blue
Persian rug the cat claws
gently merge with some
night bird I've never
seen like a poem that
goes along and suddenly,
at the end, like a banked
fire, explodes into the
wildest flame that finishes
everything that has
come before it perfectly


for the moment, my
cat, who turned her head
at chunks of just
cut beef, now is nuzzling
nearly empty cat food
tins, purrs thru the
night. Limp as rags,
for a week under the
bed, she claws the
rug in the sun. I say
nothing, just listen
as I do to her crunching
food, lapping water
at 2 AM. In stillness
the sound comforts
like bells or words in
Spanish or French
I don't understand. Her
chewing, like pearls
or amber warming to
skin soothes though it
is as untranslatable
to me as the nuances
under chatter in
the streets in Montreal
or Paris. Still, for
the moment, like music
or velvet, her paws on my
eyelids are a reprieve,
like June, or roses
or lilacs in early light
before anything scorches,
goes limp or loses
its rouge, while morning
glories are a necklace
of amethyst, exotic as
gracias, si, bon, merci




night grass steams.
Mourning doves in
the fog, a few feathers

on the lawn though no
geese for two days,
Only the heron like

a slate candle, a drift
wood stick and my
19 year old cat, a

cloth mouse in her
jaws muffling a shriek,
cuts the sleeve

of quiet






Last Updated: January 16, 2001