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Here Is a Red Cat and a White Cat

© Karen Bradway

Chittagong, Bangladesh


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 BradwayKaren Bradway has published poems in Raritan and has poems forthcoming in Another Music, edited by Cynthia Cruz. She lives in Florence, Massachusetts.

One Comment
  1. NG Unnikrishnan #

    Nice poem. ” But no water. Still the children pass laughing
    in a spray of gold.”

    December 25, 2013