Poetry Never Failed Us

I did as I promised
And faithfully put out warm milk for her.
Oh, starved kitten how she scratched me
With tiny claws and huge eyes
When she finally ventured inside,
Curled into me trembling with fear and need
And then languid like a tiny queen
When I touched her there,
As I promised.

We both felt cheated until desire was literal,
To singe our tongues with flames,
To gorge on that brave dark cherry.
Her miracle innocence somehow salvaged
Was the only gift she truly had,
The only promise she could keep.
I polished her gift golden and whole
And gave it back to her as I said I would,
Ravaged and reborn.
More sacred than we could have known.
Poetry’s own promise.

She tried love on like a thrift store dress
And twirled around for me,
Wanting me to find her beautiful,
Not broken.
The hunter laid down her sword for a moment
And told me her truth,
That she did not yet feel rich enough.
My truth, I found her most exquisite that very moment.
She pressed the tiny silk rose
Ripped from her slip into my open hand.

I came to her with two plump grapes,
Handed her the prettiest one and said,
“Here is your heart, as promised.”
Poetry says she should have slipped her heart
Into the lips of her lover.
Instead she plucked the other grape
With her sweet tiny fingers
And crushed us both
In a lovely, greedy mouth
That only played with promises.

So deliberately careless,
Doll hands playing with knives.
It would take a bloody blunt chop
To finally sever this bond,
Damning all purity recovered.

Poetry says you never know what sunny day
A feral cat will saunter away
In search of a fistful of grapes
And juice on her chin.
Leaving you with your hands
Aching for softness
And your habit of warm milk wasted.
I kept my final promise and closed the door,
Thinking surely, surely with those eyes,
Poetry promises shelter for a kitten
In the heart of some other loving stranger.


© Rhon Drinkwater 2008


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