Through the looking glass
Here the birds line up along fences to wave their heads
in anxious staccato beats. The cat, the brown cat, paces
in step alongside the window; she walks the high wire
sofa back, forward and back. Brown cat lets them twitch,
tease, and raise their beaks in temporary superiority as
she devises a plan for escape, conquer, defeat. Brown cat eyes
the winter wren, sizing up the beefy beige belly, exhales
a brief breath of anticipation. When white cat comes along,
brown keeps her guard and defends her fishbowl prey. Clear
skies illuminate beige against a powder fresh lawn, a blanket
for the buffet picnic she craves. White cat is sluggish, plump,
easily underestimated. Brown tunnels her vision through
sheer reflections, past the looking glass and out to frost
covered limbs, the wren a cherry atop her branch of cake.
White settles in at the edge of the leather, nestles into cushions
brown has left defenseless. The weight of winter snaps a crisp
crack of bark, startles the resting wren and sets off a flurry
of wings and waves against a still sky. Beige fades, brown
recedes, the empty glass abandoned; her cushioned fort
surrendered to an underestimated plump white predator,
brown traces the high wire, forward and back, with hunger.
By Lori A. May who is the author of four books including The Low-Residency MFA Handbook: A Guide for Prospective Creative Writing Students (Continuum, 2011). She has contributed to magazines including The Writer, Writer’s Digest, and American Road. Her poetry and literary nonfiction has appeared in publications such as Phoebe, Caper Literary Journal, Steel Toe Review, and qarrtsiluni. Lori teaches writing at Macomb Community College and is a frequent Visiting Writer for several MFA writing programs. Her website is www.loriamay.com.