Excuses Being Considered When Not Writing a Poem
by Lisa Cihlar
The toilet needs cleaning,
cleanser is on the shopping list.
The sheets need washing—
they smell like one night too many.
My husband is still wrapped
in them, rubbing his winter dry feet
together like a sandpaper cricket.
The grocery list looks like this:
birdseed (it has been a hard winter)
cleanser (aforementioned toilet)
kitty litter (the slut cat’s in heat and wakes me in the night, yowling)
limes, chicken, tortillas, red and green peppers, cilantro, shredded cheese (a dinner of fajitas)
coconut cake (reminds me of my childhood)
Clementines (still in season?) maybe bananas?
How can I write a poem
when I have never found an arrowhead?
I have dug up toads, wireworms, pale grubs,
red spider mites like tiny drops of velvet blood.
I have husked sweet corn, found a caterpillar still chewing,
and cut it out, but I can’t put that cob
on my plate, so it goes to the person
who wasn’t there to help with peeling
and silk brushing.
The poems I inherited from my grandmother:
a shadowbox of dead butterflies,
a catalog filled with pressed flowers,
On the news today they report
more than a thousand World War II veterans die every day.
I don’t know a single one to name
in a poem.
~ first published in The Rat’s Ass Review