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Cats and Dogs

Rain, rain, rain on the roof
like a noise machine – you’ve been listening
but you can’t hear the loop.
You aren’t alone. The past holds itself aloof
like a cat, absolutely certain
it’s the most captivating and misunderstood
creature in the room. Present
company included. The future is the twin
that couldn’t be more different.
Anxious as a dog leashed to a lamppost,
it knows its master, who’s just run in
for cigarettes, might not be coming back,
that things are always in the process
of never being the same again. This,
like a bowl on the verge of empty, warrants
hypervigilance. The past drapes itself
around your neck, a suffocating,
purring pelt. Of course it’s self-satisfied.
It’s made it this far. The future twitches and jerks
in its sleep, chasing some small frantic
thing that leaves the perfume of its panic
on the air. No one tells you how
hard it will be to ignore them, pawing
at the door to be let out, in, out, in, out again.

—Steve McOrmond. Reckon published by Brick Books, 2018.

P.E.I. poet laureate Deirdre Kessler selects a poem a month by an Island poet for readers of The Buzz.

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