on break

work a good job.

advice seeming sound
though butterflies grin
with such taunting quickness.

I glare, stare, as hard as one possibly dares when it feels like fried eggs litter the street, their whites like paper towels absorbing complaints and greetings and backtalk I understand too well, but do not adopt. Sometimes tree branches play their tricks like perpetually red stoplights. We think it’ll rain and fetch our umbrellas. Later, we’ll juggle our heavier bags, shoulder blades caught in summer’s pressure.

breathe the savory dream.

Cat No. 82 of the 500 Cats Project

after ending services

you, former physician.

such for a reason
that I’m sure should not
be blanketed recklessly
onto every (other) individual
working the sterility
and cold reverberations
of spaces like the one
where we’ve met
time to time.

I don’t know what
should be said,
but at times I’ve felt
that my card should’ve
slept another two days
while I nodded.

cannot help but
count on now tan fingers.

children in law school
who say they cannot pass
a test that actually matters.

they, not golden,
and neither am I.

but I do not owe you
anything more
and perhaps I expected
too damn much.

however, do not expect
me to say things you
want to hear.

or explain why I refused
to talk as you tried
engaging in a grocery store
like we were almost friends.

disappearing frown

you know that sadness
falls or floats
like a rubber ducky
staring you down
and announcing
he will live, indebted to none.

eye the filling,
cherries that push
a favorite graham cracker crust
to the finishing line
though blue porcelain
remains in cabinets
that rattle of complacency.

petals continue an awkward debate
uneven, all leaves barely cutting.

Cat No. 81 of the 500 Cats Project

bigger slices

mid-afternoon to-do list
suddenly bursts into
scarlet relief.

waiting on the highest porch and falling down at the slightest sound
made by cars laughing at “yield” signs and most things resembling them.

stay a while
and console yourself
counting hangnails on long thumbs.

the lonely man at the corner reminds us everyday that five is a lie
and fourths make up the most filling portions of award-winning pies.

one nose, single brain
tracking the last dime
with no light criticisms.

Cat No. 80 of the 500 Cats Project

the daily

Firecracker ice cream truck
now accepts debit cards
and slows itself only beside
those on bikes, adults
who fan themselves, pained smile
aching from sugary concentrate
dripping down the insides,
little cup melting, its base
never solid while pink
bursts through the old floor
that leaves the palm cut
like the quick, like appointments
rushed even when patients
come fifty minutes late
as principle asks for its check
without fail, and punctuality
is a luxury sporadic, but yes,
you do what’s expected, things
that you decided were worthy
of your not-so-constant signature
inflamed with inkblot dots
when knuckles around the pen
grow white, our whipped cream.

Cat No. 79 of the 500 Cats Project

your lucky day

Creamsicle spill down a tightly buttoned blouse
that has sold all the bad sides shown by a flip
of a gold-plated coin, the duality of heads
crying, “It’s your lucky day,”
again, the phone breaks

as nails split roughly at the speed of four wheels
pleading for acceptance on mornings when the rain
chooses no excuses, comes as soon as children call
and clutch the tiniest microphones, bangs out of place

like the littlest toe on a coffee table chipped
by settled expectations, resting barely
when thirty minutes crawl past 9 PM
the phone cuts loose, bruised skin
tightened, though urgently wet

Cat No. 78 of the 500 Cats Project

This Smug Rainfall

She’s lying if she says she doesn’t wonder about you, or whether your pillow’s damp as an old napkin hosting a slumber party for a fourth mug of hot cocoa. Yet she doesn’t hold back to discuss how bad it would look in the papers (if it really deserved mentioning) should some Land Rover speed through, kitten whiskers and threads of a bracelet conceding to rubber’s burn.

The sky seemed fine until a quarter after two, when men bought their lattes and murmured “resume” a good five times before she reminded herself that the novel about the Russian Mafia could wait up to a week. She placed it inside her wilted banana peel of a handbag, buckles chipped like her front teeth before a neighbor gave Mom some Avon magazines. Laughing ladies on every page convincing you it’s fine to eat lipstick.

She didn’t reach for the umbrella too soon, toes trusting the softness of cheap flip flops as others jaywalked, a construction site on the corner offering shelter and hazard. Arcade Fire drowned for several seconds, revived itself to remind her that lies ignite most everything. She pressed the button, apologizing frantically as a woman got up from the parking garage, chin brushing against torn, pink polyester. Both their mouths copied puffer fish trapped at the local aquarium. Awed, not by the children standing near, thumbs smearing a shared iPhone.

Ask her if she thinks about how it feels when the sky’s everyone’s phone charger, then shake your head.