Death stands upstairs.
Downstairs, the old cat’s
bones ache in the air
conditioning, the fat
rescue paws his food
in the dish,
looking for slugs, we’re told,
a bad memory from his street days.
In the kitchen we circle each other—
husband, daughter, friends—breathe
in the comfort of coffee.
Someone tells a story–A fawn was born
just last week down on brother’s farm,
the spotted baby stumbled into life.
Should I make more coffee? he asks.
The soothing balm of ritual. Yes, please, we say.
He walks to the sink, runs water into the pot,
then sets it down on the counter, forgets
about purpose, slips back behind the haze
we try desperately to push away.
Then as though no one would hear, he says,
Maybe I should take out the trash. . .
a scribbled note
a shoe too
tattered to matter
against the frigid
the street read
put me in a motel.
rooted me to the
moment, pushed me
closer to the blanket—
and there, on a shoulder
sat a raven, keeping
watch, head cocked,
so i turned away,
of that bird.
Marsha’s poems and essays have appeared at NewVerseNews, thewildword, Rat’s Ass Review, Streetlight Magazine, the Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, and in the anthology, Life in 10. She lives and writes in Richmond, VA, not far from the peaceful Chesapeake Bay.