One of the Last of the Last Century Cats (in Cinquains)

I find
one white whisker
tucked in the comforter
on the bed where you used to sleep
with me.

my orange friend,
the best dumpster dive find,
we were each other’s true constant—
fixed love.

How long
before I stop
swearing I see your tail
swat air around a tight corner?
How long?

This whisker
will navigate
me through a hollow place
that once brimmed with your life, so I
can breathe.


Chappaquiddick has one
the only one I know firsthand
will I go to Howth Head
when I return to Dublin

I don’t know why we didn’t make it
to Chesil Beach
that time we drove through Dorset
on the wrong side of the road

longing and blame
should be buried
beneath a bed of pebbles
every sacrament has its risks

choices made get nailed down
so quickly and I never learned
how to let the ducks out
so much was left unsaid between

my Polish American grandmother
and me / I won’t forget
where I learned to swim
or who taught me

or how one man could be
so angry / so loving
so arrogant / so naive
so brilliant / so sad

at steady intervals
my father knew
torque and lift are everything
so many flat stones left undisturbed