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. 84 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. 80 and 81 of the 500 Cats Project

“life”

oil and water
across your pavement.
I hear it’s called “life.”

let all suspense
enamor the thoughts
rustling in struck trees.

I watched as your sister
grabbed the sugar
and poured it down like morning milk.

she opened the door
just after you left
and clutched her sides, engorged.

you carried the hose
pointed at an angle
while she told you the diet worked.

Cat No. 50 of the 500 Cats Project

The Visitor

cream cheese
and honey,
some chocolate syrup.

the things our young
piece together
despite the solemn vow
to never sit down,
slurping crunchy Ramen.

striped straws
and cups,
a makeshift interview.

invitations by laptop
scatter salt
upon tasteless plans
that cannot cross
unattended streets.

cotton blouse
and hat,
sunburned friendships.

Cat No. 48 of the 500 Cats Project

catcalls

She walks in a short red skirt,
stitched sharply like a Burberry bag
with good luck napkins hastily stashed
on the morning of her twentieth interview.

Another Chevy Tahoe rolls by,
and nervously, she shakes her head
to decline a bite to eat
as she’s full, and can’t stand strangers.

Lawyers, accountants, pharmacists
and other tall ladies in pastel scarves
do roll their eyes as she often does
in the face of finger-painted sentiments.

The digit on the left, single and pale
when there are no reasons to drive to the beach
and off-black strands to the right, so matted
where burgundy glasses almost slip off the ear.

Heels to be heard three blocks south
click closer and always, she stops to breathe
stilling herself to say, “Hello”
before my indifference to downtown ogling.

*Cat No. 38 of the 500 Cats Project

“Take the day off.”

Thank you, for not gushing about your backbreaking benevolence today.

I didn’t particularly want to go, but went after watching caramel stick to the sides of a plastic cup. I usually end up tearing them apart. The cups, like I do with boxes of Kleenex when summer hits.

No one talks, which I don’t mind. The silence is especially tolerable as this is one of a few locations where the Disney Channel doesn’t giggle all day from a battered JVC from 1995. A wall separates the staff from the seen and I’m able to feed words into the mouths of people I don’t know who walk four stories below.

I didn’t have a story today. Neither did you. Nothing changed, aside from a session cut to a full ten minutes. Usually, there’s a girl who listens to nursery rhymes on a cassette player bandaged with Lisa Frank dolphins. I didn’t see her.

The receptionist liked my sweater. I always wear sweaters. Unlikely to change, like August’s angry sidewalks. I passed a house for rent on my way back, wondering which hurts more. A nail through softened soles, or crossing the street barefoot? This I ponder from time to time as I’m fine with a few cheap shoes.

The pulse remained in spite of the coffee. I told the nurse I stopped running. She asked me why, and I told her I found it boring. And, I’m lazy.

I wrote the renter’s number on a card in my pocket. Haven’t called.

smugly

your worries amuse,
as I lay here, quiet.

a fence deterring
an awkward climb.

fall to the ground,
and questions

from Mom.
angry, and disturbed

as she clambered to bed,
reaching for the covers.

naps at a time
ideal for fried eggs

are the new paradigm.
but I pretend, conformity flat.

you walk a little closer,
and I open one eye.

another step forward
wouldn’t be smart.

*(Hardly Visible) Cat No. 25 of the 500 Cats Project