Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Time is a Dog; Space is a Cat by Robin Boyd

A dog marks time by smell. He knows
when you're due to arrive home as your scent
molecules dissipate with each passing hour.

He was waiting at the door ten minutes
before you turned left into the driveway --
his tail, a metronome, keeping time to gladness. 

His wake-up call is an engine starting on a cold day.
It begins with a low rumble deep in the chest before roaring
to life as a full-throated bark demanding love & breakfast.

He is the grizzled muzzle as the years pass,
the lengthening naps, shorter walks,
long sighs of contentment by the fire.

He forces us to consider our finite lives the day
he politely declines his food. He is an interval,
a path to letting go and taking the risk to love.

                              * * *

Cats are like birds -- they inhabit a world
both vertical and horizontal and are less
beholden to gravity than most wingless beasts.

They take on the shape of whatever space
they occupy -- a cardboard box, a flower pot,
the span of the dining room table. Sunshine.

They kindly allow us to share their domain
not so much as you might move an inch
or two to make room for me on a bench,

but as a librarian might welcome us
into the stacks, a nod and a slight smile
to acknowledge the pact of amiable silence
as we each follow our own curiosities.

Robin Boyd lives in New Hampshire. With degrees in creative writing and environmental education, her work explores the edges where human and nonhuman worlds connect and inform each other. Her most recent work appears in Cutthroat and Briar Cliff Review. Her book of poems, Among the Slow Roots, was published in 2007 by Gap Mountain Press.

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