Saturday, March 1, 2014

Laura Stamps- A Poem

A Mouse Is A Mouse Is A Mouse, Or Is It?

“You’re an artist, too,” he says. 
“A fiber artist working with
fabric and thread.”  I rise from
my seat at the dining room table
and walk past the dazzling
abstract paintings, his paintings,
that hang on every wall in this
room.  “True,” I say.  “But not
like you.”  His kitten scampers
toward us and drops a stuffed
mouse, my mouse, under the
coffee table.  “Tell me about
your cat toys business,” he says,
as he retrieves the mouse and
tosses it over the kitten’s head. 
She leaps backward, slapping
wildly at it.  “You really want
to know?” I ask, when I stop in
front of the big picture window
in his living room.  “Of course,”
he says.  “You fascinate me.” 
So I tell him about the fiber
sculptures I created in college
and how, when my cats kept
destroying their toys, I sewed
a mouse for them.  Mine lasted
longer than those I bought at
the pet store.  Friends with
cats began asking for them
and buying them and telling
their friends about them, and
the business grew and grew
until it became my fulltime job. 
“That was twenty-five years
ago,” I say.  “I never looked
back.  It felt right.”  Outside
the sun is sinking over a line
of palmetto trees, slipping
into the lavender palm of early
evening.  “Do you exhibit at
many craft fairs?” he asks. 
I sit on the sofa and watch the
sun spill its palette of fire
across the clouds.  It reminds
me of a former lover, a wealthy
photographer, who described
the spectacular view of the
sunset through the bay window
at one of his houses.  I used to
fantasize about watching it every
evening in his arms.  It never
happened.  “Lots of craft fairs,”
I say.  “And cat shows, too.” 
His kitten skitters past us again. 
This time she drops the mouse
at my feet.  It’s made from
thick unbleached muslin, hand-
stitched with sturdy quilting
thread, stuffed with fabric scraps
and the catnip I grow in my
garden.  He picks up the mouse
and turns it over, examining
the abstract patterns and squiggly
sigils I’ve painted on its body
with nontoxic vegetable dyes. 
“These are cute,” he says.  “I
assume they sell well for you?” 
I look at the mouse nestled in
his hand, how it glows a rosy
shade of pink beneath the scarlet
kiss of the setting sun.  There’s
something he doesn’t know,
something I haven’t told him
yet, but I will.  These aren’t
just catnip mouse toys.  They’re
magickal talismans, containers
of power, charmed with good
fortune spells to keep the cats
that play with them happy and
healthy.  I’m a Witch.  It’s
the least I can do.  “It’s true,”
I say.  “They sell very well.”

BIO: Laura Stamps is a Pagan novelist and poet living in South Carolina.  Her fiction and poetry have been nominated for seven Pushcarts and appeared in many literary journals, including Curbside Review, Iodine, Half Drunk Muse, Main Street Rag, Mannequin Envy, Poetry Motel, and Word Riot.  She enjoys creating experimental forms for her prose poems, blurring the line between fiction and poetry.

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