Thursday, June 15, 2006

To Feed or Not

Last night I was torn… to feed or not to feed the cats that took residence nearby. Thought they’d leave after vacancy buzzed on then cooled off for a week. Young mother neon emerald ojos and 2-3 kittens hiding in damp dirt in adobe shade. Mother and 2-3 kittens without food or water. What would help/hurt more? Feeding or not? Images of my grandfather 60 years ago, a block away from here, making rafts for my mom’s cat and the newborn kittens… putting mews on board and sailing them down the canal as all the youngest children, hungry themselves, scream in horror. Last night I knew it was time. I began with water hose and filled a coffee cup with water. Then left a handful of dry cat food.

At midnight, curious if they’d eaten, I walked out and saw a headless bird (maybe a small hawk because much larger than an Inca dove or pigeon) glistening in the yard, kittens scurrying away from it at the sound of the door. Feathers. I feared little heads buried in that wet open neck, feared the morning bones, the bottom of my shoes, the morning remains, red teeth, ligaments, my naivete, neighbor's roosters headless next, myself half carnivorous without the initial knife or plucking. Only comfortable strumming. Went back in and watched some of the feast from blurry window before going to bed.

Sated. Then gone. Everything disappeared by morning. No visible stain or hard ivory glimmer. Maybe two downy underfeathers. A corn kernel. The sky all hot dust this afternoon. The afternoon all dusty hot sky.

All day Lucie Brock Broido’s “Rome Beauty” from The Master Letters runs through me. The place “where all the demons / Dine collectively on game, the momentous dumb / Switching of the great silvery utensils...”

Hawks, kittens, dust, violence, life, spirits, spit--here then gone
then here...

“When hunger dulls / … / I will / Be beautiful, gazelle.”


Sheryl said...

This is a beautiful entry Emmy. I've always admired what you can do with language.

It's weird how you saw that owl. I've never seen one in El Paso!!! So, I think maybe it was a totem or a sign or something!

Sheryl said...

Oh, I think the cats will survive near the canals, not sure if there's a shelter that cares for them without you know....

Emmy said...

Thanks, Sheryl.

If you come to EP this summer, I'll show you where the family of burrowing owls lives if they're still there. It's a trip because I first saw an owl a few years ago at a nearby school yard, but never saw one close up. Then Peter kept telling me he'd see owls now and then in San Eli, and I always wanted to see them. Then an owl appeared in San Eli the day before my grandmother died, and stayed long enough in the spot for a friend to take a beautiful picture of it for me... it's looking right into the camera.

The day I first saw the owls at the park on Zaragoza this month, I went specifically looking for them. I didn't know if any lived there--I'd never seen them there before--but for some reason I was on a mission to find them that particular day. I wanted to go to San Eli and look for them, but for some reason I thought I'd see them at this park. I walked around and kept hoping all the inca doves and other birds in the trees and grass were owls. Then sure enough, where the park grass meets the strip of natural desert landscape before the large cemented drainage ditch, there were two owls protecting their home. A few days later, I went back to see if they were still there after an emotional morning talking about losing loved ones with the girls' group... and sure enough they were there and one of the little fellas is in one of the postings below.

I'm hopeful those cats do survive with the canal close by... also hope they catch only the birds in abundance when food donations run out from neighbors. I know, it's so sad... I have yet to know about a shelter nearby that is 100% about finding homes.

I can't wait for it to rain so that the spadefoot toads come out of estivation. I love those little creatures... they make summer here summer. I like knowing they're here already, just chillin under the dirt in my yard.
Hope that's a metaphor for our poems too...