Cat’s Outta The Bag

He wrote, “How ya been, you haven’t posted,”

and I had to think through all of the details

first.  You know that big gangly puppy

that bounds in from the backyard

and vomits all over the kitchen floor,

then licks up every drop and runs to the door,

looking back at you with a demented

tongue-lolling grin?  And you can’t let him

out fast enough.  Not like that.

Or the tiny dog who climbs into your lap

just wanting to snuggle

while you radiate healing vibes

to one another?  Nuh-uh.

Or the loveable Lab, lying

in a patch of winter sunlight,

groaning in her sleep before

struggling painfully to her feet

to celebrate your being!

Nope.  This is much more toxic:

an old dog, slinking

under the back porch in the dark night.

She’s been kicked around

with such careless unrelenting brutality

that there’s no reason to hide anymore

except this time the attacker was invisible,

a malicious assassin who is not afraid to enter

the dark, and delights in the gift

of suffering

like the evil man in a horror film

with a torture chamber.

She will not come out for food,

maybe water when the coast is clear

after throwing up discreetly.

She is shivering in her fever-induced nightmares,

but can you really feel so sorry

for someone sleeping in a lush fur coat?

And yes, I know that telling you this

reveals my deep psychological

blah blah blah, but that’s the one

I mean when

I bravely respond

in all honesty, “So sick.

Sick as a dog.”

Inspired by The Daily Word Prompt: toxic

The Art of Integration

For two years, they returned

to the bluebird house,

several times a season

to lay eggs and raise their young.

The male’s iridescence in the sun,

a deep blue sapphire blessing

with his mate, swooping over the water

in aerobatic dances with their dinner —

the insects that thrive here as well.

Such a noisy lake at times,

tree swallow chirps and gurgles amid

the eerie meow of the catbird,

the redshouldered hawk’s kreeya

and at dusk, the pure cacophony

of the ranids, the creaks and croaks

of toads and the tuba call

of the bullfrog.  And though

I try to heed the warning caw of crows,

I was deaf to danger,

only noticing they no longer came

to the nesting box, now inhabited

by sparrows.  The smell alerted me,

for the new birds had killed

the defenseless native mother bird

and built their nest atop her

decaying body.  Such savage cruelty

in my own backyard! Even though

it echoed the behavior of my ancestors

building a civilization

with the same complete disregard

for native life. I haven’t mentioned

the blares and sirens

from the nearby highway — it’s not poetic.

Rather than face

my own barbarity, I defend

these swallows, determined to trap

the invaders.  I cannot see a way

to integrate these two forces,

and here lies the root of

my society’s ills:  we fight and resist.

We clearly see the bad

in the other.  How can we

find a way to synthesize,

while the gene pool declines

and the hidden costs grow?

What tool will shine the light on the pain

we’ve never acknowledged,

the beauty destroyed in the act of creation?

When will I learn that only when I am most

triggered, appalled, enraged

am I close to the key — the aching

wound that I must admit

the true cacophony deep inside.

I can offer here

the words: I am sorry.

I am part of the resolution.

I am your most

valuable resource, the one you most fear.

Don’t turn away. Take me in.

In the heart of the destruction and chaos,

this is where we find ourselves.

Inspired by The Daily Word Prompt: swallow