Midnight. The cats under the open window,
their guttural, territorial yowls.
Crouched in the neighbor’s driveway with a broom,
I jab at them with the bristle end,
chasing their raised tails as they scramble
from bush to bush, intent on killing each other.
I shout and kick until they finally
give it up; one shimmies beneath the fence,
the other under a car. I stand in my underwear
in the trembling quiet, remembering my dream.
Something had been stolen from me, valueless
and irreplaceable. Grease and grass blades
were stuck to the bottoms of my feet.
I was shaking and sweating. I had wanted
to kill them. The moon was a white dinner plate
broken exactly in half. I saw myself as I was:
forty-one years old, standing on a slab
of cold concrete, a broom handle slipping
from my hands, my breasts bare, my hair
on end, afraid of what I might do next.
(Previously published in What We Carry)
Dorianne Laux’s fourth book of poems, Facts about the Moon (W.W. Norton), is recipient of the Oregon Book Award judged by Ai. Laux is also author of Awake, What We Carry, and Smoke from BOA Editions, as well as The Book of Woman from Red Dragonfly Press. Her latest collection, The Book of Men, is available from W.W. Norton.
Photo ©Joanne Warfield