Notes On Dogs & Cats
Tree = wall
Tree = staircase
The tail is ever hopeful: metronome, propeller of delight.
The tail is a seismograph, warning, whipcrack of furious silence.
No matter how small, a dog has bulk and is earthed.
No matter how large, a cat treads one millimetre above the ground.
A dog is proof against intruders, wind in the chimney, ghosts.
A cat is partly an interloper, partly its own ghost.
A dog abandons itself to the chase; if it runs fast enough it will sprout wings.
A cat’s wings are folded into the crouch, the stalk, the pounce.
A cat delicately sniffs the air, a leaf, a grass-blade…
A dog delicately sniffs the air, a leaf, a grass-blade… before being yanked,
snorting, to the centre of the earth.
A dog on its back = the ultimate submission.
A cat on its back = maybe.
Prufrock’s predicament: He is a dog. She isn’t.
In the wake of the dog: opportunistic campfires, tossed bones, tradings of scent, the slow, painstaking deciphering of the human face.
In the wake of the cat: settlements, palaces, a niche for a household god.
A dog fills a space.
A cat opens one.
“Notes on Dogs and Cats” first appeared in Ghostlight: New & Selected Poems.