Sometimes We Sing Soft Kitty

Sylvia Adams

snow again. no country for thin women.
yes it was white this morning – where did it go?
the only whites I see are houses   frame

or aluminum-sided   among the awakening trees.
a gulls’ coffee clatch in the school yard
crumbs of gossip.

back in the days when you kept your poems
on ice so they wouldn’t spoil we kids
climbed onto the truck and sucked slivers.

those were the days mother called us in
early   no hotdogs either   all those entrails
sodden   red dye # 2.

some knocked-on doors opened.
now they’re all closing.
spring arrives with a string of green beans.

we never danced on St. Patrick’s Day
humored our teetotal mother.
green beer in liqueur glasses

spinach-encrusted patriotism
a red-haired girl wiping the tables.
in those days the cat ate leftovers.

it’s late   you have work to do   two candles’ worth.
you’re only as far away as a few bird-clutched wires.
sleep won’t help. I program the cat   pleaseplease six a.m.

counting sheep doesn’t work.
the bedroom is full
their shadows on the wall.

five a.m.  she walks on the telephone.
I keep her dry food in the freezer.  sometimes she cries.
the laundry bag overflows.

wouldn’t you know   I’m on time  you’re in the shower.
nothing to read   unholy magazines  shorn of their coupons
set me scratching   hip-hugging wool   nettle tea.

little sister  find us a wizard to make us beautiful.  
there’s no limit to cosmetic surgery.
once you are old inside it’s as if you’ve never been

anything else  wherever you are   still snow to walk home in.
what’s left?  a single-handed tornado. call waiting.
you phone me late at night. still my idol  you say.

Sylvia Adams is the author of two poetry collections, a novel and a children's book. Workshop instructor, editor, book reviewer. Founding member, Ottawa's Field Stone Poets. Introvert, synaesthete, Luddite. Winner, 2013 and 2014, Aesthetica's International Poetry Competition. Recent work in Queen's Quarterly, Arc, Freefall, Mindshadows.

Photo: Meredith Darling

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