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  • Lullaby for Cat, and: What I Mean When I Say I Knew You Long Before We Met, and: All at Sea, and: Dream of the Midwife, and: Nursery Web Spider
  • Sarah Giragosian (bio)

Lullaby for Cat

I miss you when you are cat         and I am human,when you are dreaming            and I am peeping.

                      If I could paddle backwards            across the wide channel of your sleeping,I would poke a peephole         into the bark of your dreaming.

What a relief then to meet                creature to creature!

We stretch and stray         with the day. We nose around in the roses         and sprawl below the bird’s-eye sheet                 half flying from the laundry line.

Later we rise and ramble             through the bird-thickened brambles             or we tremble against the copper birdbath                     where watery,                                               overhead                                                                 birds swim.

In that inverse mirror             we kiss our shoulders,                 knead our claws on stone,                       and rub at tender wings. [End Page 79]

We lap at the bowl of our visions          and pass the long isthmus of night                  watching the birds hook up                          across fields of telephone wires,                                  calling and calling to each other,while inside, the tenantshang up the landlineor wade into the static air.

          I do not miss being human in dreaming,when you come to me, trilling. [End Page 80]

What I Mean When I Say I Knew You Long Before We Met

Our storylines were the same.As girls, we bucked through screen doorsand vaulted out of windows. We galloped awayfrom our mothers, knocking our hooves through iceto feel our power. Our bodies, then, were porousand promiscuous. We were woodland creatures,hardly people, and we felt no shamein small indiscretions. Even being a boy was easy,nothing more than moulting off a shirtand uncovering our flat chests.

Our passion grew from our patience.We tracked the snail in the loam:we watched it spasm, squinch, and unspoolits wet iridescence across the roots,muscling its soft body across the hard earth.

We had seen the face of the snailin the public undulations of its fleshagainst the flesh of its mate: a she: a he,the slurring tongue of its bodysliding across the hermaphroditic soulof love. They genuflected and leaned backagainst their helix shells before they rose,bodies rhyming, rubbing up against each other,so tensile and swanlike in their stretchthat we could not look away.Their bodies grew slick in the vertigoof their vertical dance, and swiveling,they looked and looked with the stalksof their periscope eyes, little divining rodselectric with meaning. [End Page 81]

Years later, with my tongue tracingthe areolas of your breasts, I follow the whorlof the helix shell. I breathe the dank earth.My earliest fancies rise within me,and you take me back to the woods. [End Page 82]

All at Sea

I am not blamelessliving off of my mother’s belly.I know my thirstand I know my crimes.I know yours.

But do you remember—in your dreams—our emergent bodies ghosting below the sea line?Remember how we learned from the stinging flowers,the viruses, the cetacean songsthat echoed below the ice-sheeted earth?I miss those songs still,how we thrilled in somatic replyfrom body to body, to wave after wave.

Do you remember the coastlinesand their riches before we branched forth limbsand stood ashore, our infant knees trembling forth?And can you dream her up as she was thenbefore our fatal bloom across her giving breast?

They say the sea is a mirror.Look, and there we are:a fluke, a dying kind. And our mother now?She is there, shrunken, sagging,shocked by our overhandlingand the banquet we hold across the spineof her back.

Like you, I am a monster of desire,and when I drink her in, I taste my grave.I have maimed her to the core.But her logic of mercy is neat:when I thirst for the last time,mother will be a yielding desert,and I shall suck her bones dry. [End Page 83]

Dream of the Midwife...


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pp. 79-86
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