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A Poem by Eric Sneathen

by Eric Sneathen
August 28th, 2017

Minor Work

That day’s behind me. In our apartment

Now with Agnes and the door

Growing colder, I bought flowers today.

The florist called them “wild anemones,”

Knowing no such thing exists. I feed

The cat who makes her demands, climbing

Up on my shoulders and licking my neck

Hairs—she’s lonely. She plucks the fibers

Of my everyday shirt, indigo, perhaps

Shredding it, but I haven’t yet seen

Much evidence of any real destruction.

Real disintegration takes its time, a lot

Has happened this month alone. Fuck.

The dishes unwashed, the Pyrex not quite

Clean again, I love you but you’re shit

At applying a bit of soap and water.

Sponging up the countertop

Dawn adds its haze to flutes

And tumblers, it rings every picture of you

Slowly setting in the speckled petals

Of hellebore. You’ll say it’s too beautiful

What you hate in language

That shame may come back to your aid

As your very own image. I’ve seen you

Sleeping and lost my place easily.

I’ve skipped a few pages and the dishes

Got done. I live my life here

As if you’ll return at any rate to tasks

To be done and no mice, it’s clean

Enough today. And strange about cats.

Agnes might nudge my ankles or casually

Stomp on my junk with an intimacy

Quietly profane, her disregard on the way

To my chest needs kneading and a buzz

Of purrs after a simple day of labor

For strangers, how well she teaches me

Without much of a word at all:

Where to put whiskers or a pink nose

In urgency, making sounds and pleasure

And sleep, this great attraction

To my enemies and movement, even flight,

Insufficiency and emptiness, a little

Walks away with Agnes. I’m asleep

Now it’s night while Taylor sings

“Tell It To My Heart” blown out

Hair, piles of books crowding everything

In sight. One more shock of glamour

I’ll never heed, but it’s no waste.

The way you’ll raise your eyebrow

To me, as if to say you know me better

Than all this. But I’m not sure you do.


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