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.
Eric Sneathen splits his time between Oakland and UC Santa Cruz, where he is a PhD student in Literature. His poetry has been published by Mondo Bummer, Faggot Journal, Elderly, and P-Queue, and his first collection, Snail Poems, was published by Krupskaya. He edits a number of local publishing projects, including Macaroni Necklace, HEATHENS, and Gossip & Scandal, a chapbook series featuring interviews and new work by Bay Area writers. With Daniel Benjamin he co-edited The Bigness of Things: New Narrative and Visual Culture.