Here Is a Red Cat and a White Cat
The red cat is very hungry. His nose
Is Hitler-like, full of grit. He’ll do anything
For food. This town is a music box,
All these children with their dark glossy hair;
They sail on in their small shoes.
They are floating upward almost,
Candles of mercy, white-hot roses.
The houses have colored icing, every last one.
And sometimes pictures of beautiful women.
The nearby mosque is gated and green,
The road beyond winding with iris and pine.
Allah’s own verses
Weave through the cooling air . . .
The street, too, is a mosque,
With its bedlam of dogs, garbage,
And crows. The poor everywhere in
Their most broken states. The Biryani House,
Tava, Dhaba, Afmi Plaza, tailors &
Kings Confectionary, endless
Kiosks with their dusty goods.
The streets (of course) swarm with white-robed
Now they’ve dyed their beards
Orange, henna for Allah.
There’s a fountain by the mosque,
But no water. Still the children pass laughing
In a spray of gold. The red cat
Will eat bread, lentils, anything. He growls as he eats,
Small and terrible.
Karen Bradway has published poems in Raritan and has poems forthcoming in Another Music, edited by Cynthia Cruz. She lives in Florence, Massachusetts.