Hannah Thomassen


Ginsberg, Maggie and Me

That scruffy old alley cat Ginsberg
dozes in my lap,
nothing worth a purr.

Across the creek bad dogs bark,
good dog Maggie (doesn't chase cats)
peaceful at my feet.

Ground squirrels scuttle underneath the house —
no worries there — we have poison
hidden in a box.

"Death on All Fronts," grumbles the cat
(veteran of many wars), "Bedbugs, rats, lice.
Cockroaches. I remember all that."

My pixel-lit armchair bunker
flanked by books and film
doesn't interest him.
He's had enough; sleeps his long, cool
cat sleep, rousing just to mutter "Whatever,"
when I press "play" on my remote.
a Person has run another Person
through with bayonet and hung him
on the line laundered sheets running red
shooting those two boys point-blank
                  (USA, 1865 - Cold Mountain)

the indifferent sea at Normandy sloshing
burgundy dead and living meat carnage
I will never have to wade through under fire
                  (France, 1944 - Saving Private Ryan)

Nazi soldiers wheelchair-bound
old gentleman does not stand
when commanded chair and all
over the balcony clatter clank
on the street below
                  (Poland, 1943 - The Pianist)

having seen enough to understand, to care

about the soldier-raped green-eyed girl
children making money selling mines losing
feet, arms, hands, detonating their world with teeth
murdered baby boys suicide
                  (Iraq, 2003 -Turtles Can Fly)

I hit "stop."
Bad dogs silenced with a flick.
Put Ginsberg on the floor.

Maggie's Border Collie stare
suggests we take a walk. "OK," I say,
"Whatever. I'll get my coat;
we're out the door."

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