originally published in Carnival Literary, v2. June 2012

what does it take to live?
a will, a friend, a lover
or more?

a crying cat, mewling for attention,
jangling my thoughts about
firemen lifting my grandfather
up and taking him out the oak door
to brick buildings where new life comes
and old life goes.

I’ve wondered in the seeming days
what I would do. I dream
sunlight and burly men lift
my aged, frail body
and I say to them, “my, what strong arms
you have.” and they pass
off the words as old-man talk.

perhaps they speak of us
at their house on the hill, or their
house downtown, washing their engine,
the digits bright.

one lingered after the event
telling us of the time
he saved our house
from the inferno of a dying RV.
he looks through pictures hanging
on wallpaper and saying to me
“I like looking at old pictures.”
I like looking at him.

though during the rescue
I could only see one man’s
behind tempting my thoughts
away from the weak old man.

leaning on bathroom doorway looking in
a stranger,
distanced from feeling and emotion.
already given up on helping.

emotion had bubbled from somewhere
and I fought back liquid.
sad wasn’t it. there are
no words for the welling,
the feeling busting forth
through my façade.

cat cries for food/petting/water/out
seven-toed screams for love
and I put down this pen.
tomorrow, maybe,
will make sense.