with apologies to Whitney Vale and Hermit Thrushes everywhere
Are you a poem? I ask the cat whose yellow eyes fasten to mine with an innocence only predators can muster.
A tawny feather points askew from curled lip one tuft released from the breast of countless identical siblings that plume the floor.
Are you a poem? I ask the Thrush all gular flutter and splayed wing pressed among pale scimitar claws red with triumph and expectation.
“Death decenters one’s life but does not end it,” the Thrush says. “Now my center is cat.”
Are you a poem? I ask the vacuum Kirby bag drum-skin tight its steely mouth drawing plumage like a rhinoceros grazing on sun-ripened asters.
Are you a poem? I ask my wife thrown by bagpipe roar and racing cat from Billy Collins and his trouble with poetry (which encourages more poetry) She lifts her eyes and says without dispute, “I am an unfinished poem but I am the only poem that should concern you.