One morning, having forgotten she died,
She rented rooms from a tailor, hired a maid,
Set flowers in the window.
When the tailor put the cat out at night
It would sneak back in the house
To visit with her.
Before going to bed she would kneel
Politely asking Christ to watch over her sleep.
But He rarely did.
Instead an old Roman god, left behind,
Paced the confines of her room
Until the false dawn.
When I was nine, the maid’s ghost
Told me in a dream the name
To which the cat would answer.
When you have just eight readers it is no light thing
To lose two of them. “Send no more poems
Like the ones you’ve been writing. It has become
Too burdensome even to ignore them.”
Oh, but I will miss my audience! Still,
Ich kenn nicht anders; my muse is not
Anyone with whom I would trifle. Demons,
She says, and angels and the maid’s ghost
Come from the grave to whisper
The name of a cat she once knew
When she worked for an old dead woman.