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THREE'S CHARM / Pattiann Rogers Whenever we make love, we bring in the panther to sit on his scroUed pedestal in the corner of the room. We like him there, the power of his engine. We like his reek, the odors of licorice and scorched grasses he carries with him. Sometimes he ignores us, Ucks his fur methodicaUy, chewing and sucking between each claw, droning on with his eyes closed through the whole event. But usuaUy he perches erect on his pedestal and watches, taU twitching. We glory in his interest. We dramatize our thrashings, growl for his pleasure, squeal repeatedly for his deUght. We flip and writhe like stranded fish on a rocky shore just to put him in a frenzy, just to make him jealous. Some nights we lose ourselves completely in his presence, grow weightless with the distance. We see only his eyes and the fires of his gleaming teeth as he hisses. He's a constellation, our sign, the tips of our bodies burning in his own black sky. And we wait for those evenings when he crouches low, draws his head down into the bat-blades of his shoulders, actually leaps right for us on the bed. We get our fingers deep into his furry hide, as we wrestle him quickly to the floor. I grab his rump, my partner his head, and we drag him 86 · The Missouri Review back to his corner, force him to mount his lacquered pedestal again. We coUar him then, bind him there with chains where he belongs. We laugh at him, poke him and smack his muzzle, though we know how much we need him as we Ue down together again panting, furious with his fury, his ears flat, his fangs exposed. Pattiann Rogers The Missouri Review · 87 GET ON BOARD / Pattiann Rogers While aU the seas harass themselves with whipping waterspouts and typhoons, whUe all the seas draw back out of themselves into stiU polar prairies and sheaths of ice; while LUy, her spine pressed against the oak, murders her baby in the forest, and Hubert at tea time hands Rose a lemon wedge and cream—aU along, it continues to move along, that wagon, its bed planed and pegged Uke a floor, its sides like a farm wagon slatted and high. Where the mottled mongrel, chained to the shed, meets the returning howl of his own barking at midnight, where the spotted salamander at the pond's edge relinquished its color and motion to the blooming mUfoU, where the eye of the snow hare, alone on a white plain, becomes the only true vortex and bUzzard of winter, there it passes also, creaking and swaying, the hub of each wheel turning Uke a coin spun on a table, each spoke circling Uke a Ughthouse beacon. It passes the faUen and fern-cradUng tree from which it is constructed, passes the ocean vaUey from which its lumber wiU grow, passes the sleeping infant who has forged its axle, passes the grave of the smith who wiU ring its wheels, passes blind Edith who points and shouts, "See the flaming wagon crossing the sky," passes Uncle Morris reciting, "There Ues The Missouri Review Pattiann Rogers the wagon, broken, upside down in the ditch," passes itself, silk sides hung with orchis and lavender, wheels laced with sage, inside the visionary's mind. It sways and rumbles, traveling always both subsequent and prior to every moment of its path. Don't you know it? Can't you see? You, riding along with aU of its passengers, standing up, laughing now, waving your hat, hallooing and haUooing? Pattiann Rogers The Missouri Review · 89 SEEING THE GOD-STATEMENT / Pattiann Rogers Suppose this statement: Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shaU see God, were placed Uke a wreath of violets, liUes, laurel and oüve, blossoms strung together Uke words in a sentence, a garland launched, set out on a flowing creek. Imagine that wreath carried down frothy rapids, tossed, floating, slipping over water-smoothed, moss-colored boulders, in and out of slow, dark pools, through poplar and wUlow shadows. It dips, sinks momentarily, emerges, travels, maintains its ring, its declaration...


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