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. 91 and 92 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. 90 of the 500 Cats Project

heatwave

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. 89 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. 88 of the 500 Cats Project

milky nostalgia

bring back a good day.

you know, when kites were cool
and lemonade painted bedroom walls
in a not-so-crass way, and no one
seemed to give up so much and
pick at points lacking lead, graphite,
or whatever stains a callused thumb
rubbing on tabletops, over and over
while a phone gets lost in cranberry
cushions and mice start to sing
parodies of songs that we couldn’t
imagine capable of graduating
to something even more ridiculous.

it can’t hurt to smile more, I hope.

Cat No. 87 of the 500 Cats Project

needed silence

you say hello, the desire for
constructive conversation
melted halfway, ice cubes
thrown into a waxing cup
where coffee rests level
to small, sleepy secrets
that tease our clear beads
spinning on dry ground.

Cats No. 85 and 86 of the 500 Cats Project

after you begin

pushing through
the rusted abrasion
that, for a little while,
left you thinking twice
about floor plans started.

whether they’d pay for themselves
within the almost rude visibility
of uneven paint, scratches on walls
reminding you of detached voicemails
so flat, and barely a fine example,
of how one relays quaint rejection.

spend some time
by dimming stoplights
meeker than all your points
made with mechanical pencils
broken thanks to their stubborn will.

Cat No. 84 of the 500 Cats Project