Like sleet, the salt comes out so fast
that it over runs the teaspoon and scattered on the floor. Mother, superstitious as she was,
would remind me to take a pinch
and throw it over my left shoulder.
This to ward off evil spirits
and protect my soul. I wonder
if the cake will fall.
But I leave the salt on the floor
knowing I might spill more or snow the floor with flour. I put the cake in the oven,
check back in an hour
for any effects of my sloppy work.
But no harm done, the cake rose
in the pan and is golden brown
on top just like the recipe said. I sweep up the mess I made.
Her name, I don’t recall but she was black, black. She had kittens in my mother’s linen closet, I
only remember two, one was ebony, climbed into the car’s engine, the other we named Toby,
gray and white.
My collection of cats: Pewter, wood, ceramic, whimsical, true to life, one-inch square painted in
Paris, ruby red from a long-ago friend. Salt and pepper shakers—white with black spots from a
patient I treated. Not exactly my style, but she insisted.
I have had two cats: Puff, he was feral, took two weeks to catch him in the apartment, had
tapeworms bad. Ivory came with a fake gemstone collar, took that off right away. Puff, he used
up one of his nine lives, swallowed an embroidery needle with thread. I found it in the litter box.
Ivory had one ear amputated, a tumor. Now I have two dogs, the greyhound trained to chase
small fluffy things and a boxer/pitbull who has forgotten Ivory.
Maybe, if I wrap the figurines up, take them to the thrift shop, someone will buy the salt
and pepper shaker.
Hurricane Rain at Holden Beach
It slips from the clouds out on the horizon.
It marches towards the beach, great drops pelt the waves with dimples.
It pocks the sand like blasts from a BB gun,
pastes each grain to its neighbor. It sands
the driftwood that washes ashore. It rinses dust from the sea oats,
salt from the car. It pummels the window,
falls softly as the wind drops. It trickles down my back through the leak
in my raincoat. It needles my skin as I lean
into the wind, wishing it would wash
you from my mind.
Cascade to wash me clean,
stifle the day's monotony.
Plummet from the sky, erase death's thoughts that stain my brain.
Tumble the energy of your drops
into words on this paper.
Thunder spill from my ears so I can hear the bluebird's song.
Flood me with blue sky, wispy clouds,
honeysuckle's sweet scent.
Drown the gray clouds, drench my mind
with thoughts of the future.
Barbara Brooks, author of “The Catbird Sang” and “A Shell to Return to the Sea” chapbooks, is a member of Poet Fools. Her work has been accepted in Avalon Literary Review, Chagrin River Review, The Foundling Review, Blue Lake Review, Third Wednesday, Peregrine, Tar River Poetry among others. Her website is: www.thecatbirdsang.com