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

the house often passed

left behind,
or home alone
with each foot planted
on the modest ramp
where plastic cars
hummed, crackling down
as droplets of dreamt confession
fell, agreed to release
themselves from a ceiling
stripped, painted indifferently
by the tips of sponges,
broomsticks’ spearheads
that don’t offer meat
the way skewers do, as seen on TV.

stretch and press
all draped plastic
and take a moment
holding breaths,
taming tensions,
catching pace,
though ducking under metal
lies null in the draft
that dances unabashedly
all the way
from thoughts’ openings.

Cat No. 67 of the 500 Cats Project


four-sided panels.

that claims your frustration
as you scratch the wrong symbol.

again, swerving into plastic bins
thanks to well-meaning migraines
while your brow line swells.

try again, grounded.

Cat No. 66 of the 500 Cats Project

keep on foraging

rummaging in the exhaust
of tires interrogated,

brought to deflate
when the alibi of “dinner party”
failed to beckon
the nods of swaying jurors.

to find the ring
already retrieved.

clanking down the garbage disposal
while Tim screamed, “Fuck,”
looking for a place to hide,
fork prongs bent between bluish teeth.

Cats No. 64 and 65 of the 500 Cats Project


chicken bones upon grapefruit peels,
bubblewrap dreaming
bursts into a scowl,
the back does ache like weakened knees
as we’re not sure it’s winter.

my brothers are calling,
teasing and asking
where I stood a few nights before
while they just laughed,
busied enough to rekindle the need for upholstery.

I face the color and taste the nothings
of stale air brushing against uneven paint
and I blink, sink into observation
and think some more about how good it feels
to not wear an old frayed collar.

Cat No. 61 of the 500 Cats Project

clear winter

leaves do fall,
a convenient rain
crackling beneath
our wandering feet
and soaking between
complacent jaws
that yawn within
a periphery wild
with plans to meet
our nearby friends
sometime, this clear winter.

Cats No. 59 and 60 of the 500 Cats Project

the porch

“needs upholstering.”

    decent shade.

fix it up, and it does the job. we promise.

oh, in a month
the plans shall come
and feet will be heard,
third floor and up.

it is like Spring Cleaning
though cuticles peel
and lips split
as the wind plays
the rusted harmonica
of bad habits,
twenty-one days to crack.

the goal here,
while the bleach wipes
drench the tabletops
and wall clocks
steady like owls,
is hidden within a wall
where the mice escaped to.

Cat No. 58 of the 500 Cats Project

after their nap

tea parties.

but they’re pouring
more lemonade
than I’d expect.

possibly, a sign
of optimism
in the face of influenza.

what do I say here?

chewing on leaves
only to grimace
for veins don’t ooze sweets.

I am sure I could
fit in an average suitcase
though lugging’s an impossibility.

peek outwardly.

Cat No. 57 of the 500 Cats Project


I politely asked a woman
– whose house stood sturdy
on the side of a road
that for years transgressed
the norms zip codes imposed –
if I could take a picture.

“My house?”
she blinked, confused.

I pointed to her cat
– whose eyes were like cups
emptied by children
eager for grape juice
and tropical punch in summer –
and I wanted to walk a bit closer.

“Oh, of course. Take him!”
she waved her hands, listless.

Tail like a caterpillar
– still, and wondering
if I was another weirdo
crawling into bed with socks
who ate my Pop-Tarts untoasted –
quivered itself to rest.

“Thank you, but I’ve got two.”
I frowned as the cat crouched rigidly.

Cat No. 55 of the 500 Cats Project


The trio gathered around the tree.
Brittle arms, cramping legs.
Within the grid, a step outside.
Makes for news, science class lectures.

The house was not so far.
Of a family name, everywhere.
Streets, the farm, and grocery stores.
Papers blotted with quiet faces.

Not a question, room to look.
Exit signs shall not apply.
Squeezing through a sighing fence.
Relying on nothing but word of mouth.

Someplace hides the safe spot.
A house on the edge, passably good.
An entryway with a doormat.
Fibers taught while colors dried.

Flashlights had given up.
Synthetics ’round ankles sealed.
They wondered of their tins and slips.
And questioned the history of reason.

The trio answered the moans of the sky.
And speculated on risk’s expense.
A sister’s nine-to-five, denied.
As boats and fish treaded blithely.

Those who claimed the aching land.
Fathers and sons in enterprise.
Made it clear that Here was theirs.
Winded brawn defiled.

Strangers out of solid work.
Fingers unseen by umbrellas.
Beards, their only lighted flare.
Seeking mercy near sharp whiskers.

Cat No. 49 of the 500 Cats Project