Night, when I was flying across
the sleep of other lives,
your pet reached out and snagged me
from the balcony, in the web of my cape . . .
This gore lays itself out for your lionheart,
who feels less companionless
nosing over the mousy
bird of me.
I feel, just behind the right shoulder, clean teeth
become my own spare bones,
a synchronous skeleton.
We live together briefly, the tom whispering
in my ear, me tolling
But the arrest weighs on me.
Night’s old neatness mussed. Here I am
indoors, bleeding all over the house-
mistress’s books, everything I knew forever
jounced from place, my slant on things
flattening to the floor. A kind neighbor
drowns me. Phoenix sloshing in a pail.
He drops me on a glacier.
I await the county man
who picks up iced identities.
Death is my address
on the flyway to South America.
And my sound—
like hair after hair uniting on a cat’s back—
migrates among the rabid searchers,
who will find out
I was well.
As is, therefore, your treasured
Sandra McPherson's ninth collection of poems is A Visit to Civilization (Wesleyan University Press, 2002). She teaches at the University of California at Davis. Her Swan Scythe Press (http://www.swanscythe.com/) recently published its twenty-fifth chapbook. (4/2006)