Feeding the Invisible Cat
from The Narrative House, by Janet McCann
I miss my animals, here in this strange house,
so I put out food
the dinner’s leftovers
hoping something will come.
And something does, a shadow
on the porch of the rental house
sometime after midnight
What you’re feeding, you say
is nothing you’d want,
a raccoon, maybe even a rat.
The guest does not like mushrooms
or onions. It licks them clean
of gravy. They lie on the dinner plate
like a still life.
What I am feeding
is something of distinctive taste
and a certain feel for art, I say.
It will show itself, I will make friends with it.
The shadow flickers
under the distant streetlight.
I put out Beef Burgundy.
A thunderstorm shudders the house
windows rattle all night
and in the pale washed morning
two button mushrooms
on the blue translucent plate
under clear water.
Included in the just-published chapbook House from Plan B Press.
Janet McCann has taught at Texas A&M University since 1969. A version of the chapbook submitted to our contest won the Plan B Press Poetry Chapbook Contest, and she has won three other chapbook contests over the years. Her work has appeared in such journals as New Letters, Kansas Quarterly, Parnassus, Nimrod, Sou’wester, New York Quarterly, Tendril, and Poetry Australia.