Say a cat limps into your yard,
a cat with singed whiskers, a fear
of play. Say your six-year-old
pounces at the chance to love
a smaller creature, builds it forts,
blanket beds, preserves it
the last bits of his favorite dinner,
falls to sleep draped beneath
its paw and awakens early.
You try: post signs, ask around,
check the paper’s lost and found.
He pleads to put the paper down.
You finally do. He names the cat.
Wilks is sleeping on his lap
when you learn your brother’s
friend’s neighbor lost one, gone
when his son held its head too close
to a candle. Really is all
he says. I leave it up to you.
Epic of a Winter Evening
Let the muse be silent! The fire’s lit.
The only song belongs to the log’s hiss.
Cradled in perfection of the fit,
my head rests in this underworld of bliss
where the curve of my cheek slides easily to its place
of neck and shoulder joined above the heart.
I need no armor, desire only to face
you unadorned, no sting of a god’s dart.
I sing of your arms, fated to draw me
deep into this Thursday night of snow
to ponder the night’s only mystery:
the rise and fall of flicker, ash, and glow.
Though fate ordains the adversaries fight,
Hector couples with Andromache tonight.
“Epic of a Winter Evening” first appeared in The Sweet Annie & Sweet Pea Review.
Michelle DeRose teaches creative writing and African-American, Irish, and world literature at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her most recent poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Dunes Review, Making Waves, The Journal of Poetry Therapy, and Healing Muse.