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Clade Song 5


I read a book when I was in elementary school
in our library, a book of omens and superstitions

filled with the tabloids of witches, the ‘zines
of zombies, as if the librarian wanted to haunt

every child who should stumble upon its stupid
dance.  I read that cats, when you sleep, jump

on your throat and wait—all night if they have to—
for your mouth to open and then they rise

to their imperfect height and suck out all of the life
from your breath, their ghost-whiskers brushing

deep into your throat, and when you wake
you feel weak, but not knowing that a part

of you is gone, forever, eaten by the thing
at your feet.  From then on, I realized that cats

have ninety lives, nine hundred lives, bellies
jam-packed with the souls of priests and moms,

children and plumbers.  I met a dominatrix
once.  She owned several cats, her house

seeming to have one in every room, all of them,
I’m assuming, hungry as hell . . .

Clade Song 5 Right
Ron Riekki's books include U.P.: a novel, The Way North: Collected Upper Peninsula New Works (a 2014 Michigan Notable Book), and Here: Women Writing on Michigan's Upper Peninsula, []  



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