In the Cathedral: Images & Confessions

Stubble-cat

Frost covers the ground like a crocheted coverlet
spread over a doubled. Fog rising
from the earth as morning light
first touches the stiff, white coated
grass blades, and cold enters
my body through my bare fingers and creeps under
under the turquoise sweater that I bought for
the first day os school two years ago.
My breath is snagged from my lips and hangs
immortalized in the the air for a moment
before drifting away to make room for the next
breath. Soon winter winds will arrive
majestically amidst a fanfare of snowflakes and
rule the world while the ground sleeps
beneath a thick quilt of drifts
until the spring sun thins the snow and awakes the earth.
Then the hot summer with green and growing
things and I will wait and long for fall too one and kiss
the earth leaving red
across the trees
like my sister’s lipstick
on my cheek when she hasn’t seen me for a time.
Then the earth sleeps and the cold comes and the warmth
inside me will keep me living
until the next breath.

©1993

(Note: ‘stoppelkat’ or stubble-cat is a Dutch term for kittens born in the autumn. They didn’t do as well, and farmers might consider putting them down. My father referred to me as a stubble-cat as a joke to my mother, as only she and I in our family were born in the autumn.)

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