Where did everybody go, do you suppose?
I thought I had them counted, every nose
going about its business everyday—
dog in the grass, cats in their litter tray;
now eat, now sleep—precise punctilios.
It started when one of the ones who wear the clothes
left us, went wherever someone goes
who never comes again. That’s when I began to say
where did they go?
Later on, my brother cat lay down and froze
in a forever sleep. There was such weeping; flows
of tears like rivers. Then, oh, no! The dog fell prey
to that inscrutable. I feel as if I’m yesterday,
trying to know, waiting for my eyes to close—
where did everybody go?
. LAST CAT CONUNDRUM
Snow is taller than the dog.
Though we’re both old with achey bones
I lower bare feet to the cold, hard floor
early from bed this morning. I am called
to shovel snow because the dog
held it all night and now she has to go.
She squeaks and whines in her distress,
pacing a nervous rhythm to and fro
the door, annoying me to hurry-up
my undress and my dress. I glare at her,
put on my boots, my coat.
I’m doing what I can; she’s wanting more.
So pressing is her need I give
no time to take care of my own.
“Here, here, a path toward a space!”
I yell into my muffler as I stab
and fling shovelfuls of snow
until there is a place for her to go.
Did I mention, in the speed of this kerfuffle
I neglected my own needs? Too late.
Dog done, in strange paralysis I stand,
inspired by some dripping icicles nearby
or by that patch of yellow snow. I’m not upset
as legs grow warm and wet. I am
most mellow, leaning on my shovel,
looking at the sky. Just going with the flow.