THE CAT LADY
The woman next door says she's clairvoyant.
She hasn't had a night's peace in years.
You want to ask her who it was
who found his body,
how long he was left hanging
but you stare instead
beyond to the leaf pile under the tree.
She fiddles with her buttons. You could
tarry for hours and still not be privy to where
his ashes were scattered or who got to keep the cars.
Time to assemble your gratitude and move on.
As if proxy for revelations, she offers
a painted cat she pulls from her pocket.
Once his, she says, brushing away lint.
She'll go back into her house,
spoon food onto saucers for the cats,
nameless because they come and they go,
something she's already told you,
something you already know.
hummingbirds in the red begonia's droop.
Nancy Flynn hails from the coal country of northeastern Pennsylvania where, at an early age, she fell in love with words instead of into a sinkhole or the then-polluted Susquehanna River. Her writing's received the James Jones First Novel Fellowship and an Oregon Literary Fellowship; her second chapbook, Eternity a Coal's Throw, will be published in 2012. A former university administrator, she now lives in Portland, Oregon. In 2004, she happily reclaimed www.nancyflynn.com from the realtor in Massachusetts who had it first.