The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review
littlereview

Poem for Thursday


Army Cats
By Tom Sleigh


1.

Over by the cemetery next to the CP
you could see them in wild catmint going crazy:
I watched them roll and wriggle, paw it, lick it,
chew it, leap about, pink tongues stuck out, drooling.

Cats in the tanks' squat shadows lounging.
Or sleeping curled up under gun turrets.
Hundreds of them sniffing or licking
long hind legs stuck in the air,

great six-toed brutes fixing you with a feral,
slit-eyed stare...everywhere ears twitching,
twitching as the armor plate expanding
in the heat gave off piercing little pings.

Cat invasion of the mind. Cat tribes
running wild. And one big pregnant
female comes racing through weeds to pounce
between the paws of a marble dog

crouching on a grave and sharpens
her claws against his beard of moss
before she goes all silky, luxuriously
squirming right under the dog's jaws,

and rolls over to expose her swollen belly.
Picture her with gold hoop earrings
and punked-out nose ring like the cat goddess Bast,
bronze kittens at her feet, the crowd drinking wildly,

women lifting up their skirts as she floats down
the Nile, a sistrum jangling in her paw.
Then come back out of it and sniff
her ointments, Lady of Flame, Eye of Ra.

2.

Through the yard the tanks come gunning,
charioteers laughing, goggles smeared with dust
and sun, scattering the toms slinking
along the blast wall holding back the waves

from washing away white crosses on the graves,
the motors roaring through the afternoon
like a cat fuck yowling on and on.
The gun turrets revolving in the cats' eyes

swivel and shine, steel treads clanking,
sending the cats flying in an exodus
through brown brittle grass, the stalks
barely rippling as they pass.

3.

After the last car bomb killed three soldiers
the Army Web site labelled them "martyrs."
Four civilians killed at checkpoints. Three on the airport road.
A young woman blown up by a grenade.

Facts and more facts...until the dead ones
climb up out of the graves, gashes on faces
or faces blown away like sandblasted stone
that in the boarded-up museums'

fractured English "leaves the onlooker
riddled and shaken, nothing but a pathetic gaping..."
And then I remember the ancient archers
frozen between reverence and necessity—

who stare down the enemy, barbarians,
as it's told, who nailed sacred cats to their shields,
knowing their foes outraged in their piety
would throw down their bows and wail like kittens.

--------

From this week's New Yorker.

We had another snow day -- not much accumulation, but the roads had iced over during the night. Even Paul stayed in and worked from home, meaning he had both a computer and a cat in his lap most of the day. It wouldn't have been a bad day had Sears shown up to repair our dryer as scheduled (the mail arrived, UPS arrived, it's not like the roads were non-navigable all day) or at least called to tell us they weren't going to make it...well, I have already ranted about that plenty elsewhere. The kids did more sledding and playing of Wii Fit and had friends over, and I struggled to do laundry with a dryer that will only dry five items at a time and overheats after ten minutes even within that limitation.


This is where Daisy spent as much of her snow day as possible...in Paul's lap. Cinnamon spent most of hers in the fishie cat bed...


...while Rosie plunked down on the back of the couch above the heating vent and watched the birds flitting in the trees to avoid the snow.


This is the significant other of the cardinal whose blurry photo I posted yesterday.


She was apparently not bothered by standing in snow, though she spent a lot of time picking seeds out of the bird feeder.


I wish I had a clearer photo of the red one, whose bright color in the snow drives the cats completely insane as he hops around on the deck.


Eventually they end up pesking each other since they can't chase the birds.


And the closer it gets to feeding time, the more time they spend circling by the kitchen.
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To my regret, we have now finished watching all of Arrested Development. I wasn't spoiled for the finale, so I wasn't sure whether it came to a resolution or just an end, and I was very pleased to learn it was the former, though I think the level of crack in the last season got a bit outrageous even by that show's standards. Still, it was enormously fun to see Justine Bateman (the remarks on the blooper reel from that episode are hysterical) and Tobias and Lindsay twice inadvertently falling for the same date...heeee! To fill the gap, we started watching The Tick, which only lasted nine episodes, but the kids have never seen them and we all like the ridiculousness of that show too. The county has already announced a two-hour delay opening schools on Thursday, but hopefully this means that they will in fact open!
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