A Feline Convalescence
Having come back from the veterinary dentist
with three canines extracted, I can't decide
if I'm a handheld holepunch or your cat.
Consider the evidence:
I usually sleep on your desk, where I am proud
to sit on your work, which is my work, and must be pressed flat.
I often commit justifiable homicide
on scraps of paper. I bare a prominent tooth
as a way to reveal my aggressively jocular nature.
I like to see myself as a well-honed blade,
your day as my sheath.
I’m hollow inside but I don’t mind. I require
grip strength if you pick me up. I like when you scratch
me under the ears and offer me fish on a fork.
As for my identity…. I guess that settles that.
Turkeys In Harvard Yard
They don’t belong, but who does?
Maybe their plan is to burn the whole place down.
Look at them directing the few pedestrians,
overruling stoplights. They have come to see
one another as heroes of distributive justice,
travelers from a pre-Columbian dawn.
Their ruffs rise up. Their collars make good fans,
their wattle-strewn beaks the vehicles
for once-presumed-impossible demands.
They remember when everything was icicles,
expensive gutters stacked with snow, their toes
on crusted ice the only sound.
Now they’re our anti-fascists.
While we were limp in our beds,
sleep crusting our narrow lashes,
they had already taken control of the town.
Stephanie Burt is Professor of English at Harvard. Her most recent books are AFTER CALLIMACHUS (Princeton UP, 2020); DON'T READ POETRY: A Book About How to Read Poems (Basic, 2019)l and ADVICE FROM THE LIGHTS (Graywolf, 2017), a National Endowment for the Arts Big Read selection. Follow her on Twitter @accommodatingly.