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A Bad Day

by Carolyn Stoloff

The composer’s cat caught his bird.

A delicate, gentle animal, who’d shake one paw like a lace handkerchief, and approached webbed corners with the shy curiosity of a mole, the cat did only what it had not been taught, therefore the composer could not properly erect himself in his anger pole, which, incidentally, no longer fit.

As the bird’s tail went down like a last skip of childhood, the composer lowered his sad fat into a rocker where he creaked and rocked mournfully, mopping his steadily slipping face with a page of his sonata.

In his lap a piano roll without holes suddenly matured like a top hat.

His infant lips made small waves, shaping notes from a pocket guide in a strange country without birds where his cat peered from each tree, quietly belching feathers.


Carolyn Stoloff has published widely. Her book, Dying to Survive, was put out by Doubleday. A chapbook, In the Red Meadow, is out from New Rivers Press. (Spring 1975)

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