A Kind of Ars Poetica

by Jane Lin

Feign sleep to put off the cats, the day's demands.
Linger with the dream, your mother well enough to joke—
a rendition of older memories of being. Linger
because it's no use to whip yourself with the failed body
anymore. Get yourself to a better place before the next tragedy.
The collided child (not yours). The tumbled man
(being cliff dwellers). How do you know what matters
without the urgency of heart monitors and PICC lines?
The kitten next to you in Buddha-like serenity.
A woman selling the sickened litter in a parking lot (intervention).
Each cheek whisker sprouts from a dimpled spot.
Remember the time the cat ate the chicken on the kitchen table?
You forgot to tell your mother, and she ate the rest—the horror!
If you scratch the rump just above the tail, the tongue
darts in and out, a compulsive licking, sign of pleasure.
Breakfast is a tablet cut in two, hidden in pill pockets.
Crumble glucosamine for the one with arthritis,
squirt omega-3 for the one with asthma. This is the sound
of happy cats, your child says of the lapping.
A kind of comfort. A kind of flailing out of the mire.




Jane Lin has had poems published most recently in Spoon River Poetry Review, The Mas Tequila Review, Slant, and New Madrid.

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