Today's poem is by Frances Schenkkan


The cat worked her head into a milk bottle
and when the children came upon her,
they cried out.
Father took a hammer and tapped until
the bottle broke and curiosity could breathe.

A puzzle for the children:
how could their father be so loving to the cat
and shout so horribly at Mother?
They wished for her the same affection
and tried to teach her to mew, but she only

hummed her hymns and slunk away
on all fours. She pretended not to hear
when the children called and called for her
to come out of the dark wood where
she hid when Father was home.

Then Father grew ill. Mysteriously,
Mother reappeared, curiously upright.
She spoon-fed him milky toast and even
climbed into his bed. How she could
do that after all the years of yelling

mystified the children as they mewed
and crawled about, curious creeping creatures,
heads in glass bottles wherever they roamed.

Copyright © 2007 Frances Schenkkan All rights reserved
from Dogwood
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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