Featured in Colorado Review
Immortality LectureFeatured, Poetry
Published Summer 2010
There is a way to be both here and not here.
The cartoon cat stands just out of sight with the mallet.
The cartoon mouse peers from his hole into the living room.
Then yellow birds circle his head as he rises to heaven on
Your children have been watching TV for hours.
The cat peels the mouse from the floor,
drapes it over a piece of bread, and opens his mouth.
The sun butters the windowsill on a Saturday morning
in the summer before someone will die.
On the birthday cake, a single candle sputters like a fuse
the cat can’t blow out.
The tv decorates their eyes with explosions of blue light.
Their heads are like little rooms
in which the mouse sits at his desk designing a rocket.
They will always remember you like this,
at your desk.
And so, the cat soars above the house and explodes.
Then the cat is in their heads designing a catapult.
I have implied that someone soon will die.
All morning, dead relatives
have marched through the room toward their rewards.
The mouse is drawing a door on the wall with chalk.
Now he is opening the door and stepping through it.
The cat has drawn a tunnel on the wall that flattens him.
Your children are bored. They’ve seen this one before
and are changing the channel.
You can never vanish from their world.
Kevin Prufer’s most recent books are Fallen from a Chariot (Carnegie Mellon, 2005) and National Anthem (Four Way Books, 2008), named one of the five best poetry books of the year by Publishers Weekly. His next collection is Little Paper Sacrifice, forthcoming from Four Way Books in 2011.