ears that ring

Mangoes and a mocha go so well
right now, like a hazelnut spread
consoling the minute sighs found in
raisins’ grooves, old fruit resting in
the softness of our local bread
while branches fall and everyone
decides it’s not the best idea to
cross an unmarked road,
something like a snake whose
colors change with every breath,
and even the zookeeper can’t
decide as to whether the thing’s of
a poison that ends the day, week,
month, year that’s taken leave
because mothballs are too much to
tolerate at times, too much to
notice, too much to make excuses
for even when a houseguest points
at your socks, big toe poking out
like a proofreader’s oversight, or
perhaps our complacency when
the sky’s too bright to say “Hi” to,
when the night’s too fickle for us to
prepare, and honestly, being told
that your pajamas are too lose for
proper sleeping aggravates like
trickles of sweat cooling the insides
of ears that ring with the tiring
screech of clumsy contradictions.

Cat No. 88 of the 500 Cats Project

my sixth toe

I have wanted you
to let me be, peppered
and baked with the realist
concerns rippling across
a thunderstorm runway
on a Friday I never knew

like bravery praised in the palest light, well wishers waving their tiny hands while following the rule no one sweeps up

and the dustbin scrapes
so gracelessly while crickets
lose their minds, exhausted
like a car’s plastic brakes
neglected and tasked with
too many things that even
an experienced typist falls
behind in a race that begins
on austere ground, everyone
starting thirsty, ready to drop

into a bucket spinning at the sides when children toss pennies and sometimes, a quarter as the whites of their shirts ask for the spill

Cats No. 86 and 87 of the 500 Cats Project

“Who is Mr. Mailman?”

pan flute, make me laugh
though I’ve already had my fill
of trying so hard not to catch my breath
when dogs try to whistle and run upon their shame.

banana split barely squeezes out
a fiberglass window, fake sugar
sprinkled, sand grains resting
on freckled, emptied hearts.

I’ve got some kind of theory
and some kind of story that few
would ask me to divulge, all straight-lipped
and somber like funeral flowers sleeping all too early.

it may be my skewed perception
but I’ve come to see changes
in Mr. Mailman’s shoelaces
on every day he’s late.

Cat No. 85 of the 500 Cats Project


They’ve congregated for most of
the day, giggling and humming
as flies unknowingly do, the
children sitting through a math lesson
headed by a lost pretender who
wants nothing more than to dip
those foundation-caked toes into
some cheap yellowed butter dish
that shakes at the base while water
spreads, stammers, wanting to scream.

Do not throw me
the softest fleece.

I’ll close my eyes
and turn away.

As for sand fleas, they have
left for prospects too damn good for
the crickets that dance on sidewalks
winding into corners that were never
so sharp, and really, installed
like a smoke detector whose batteries
see integers as a lazy joke dozing
away and nodding only when we
find the time to agree that
it’s just too hot right now.

Cat No. 84 of the 500 Cats Project

find me

the common day has clouded a thought
that fried eggs on toast at least tried
to nurture, asking for meat after months
of carrots turned gray, blue, and some other
color we’ve grown to associate with living unwell.

put in the time to find me, or blow
the whistle I’ll probably hear
far into dusk’s semi-solemn disclosure
crafted in a little more than an hour
to convince you mistakes never happen.

Cat No. 83 of the 500 Cats Project