About the Feature

Photo by Jan Tik

The holiday pushed it back.
I drag my crates out anyway. I threw away
my roommate’s rotten produce to liberate the crisper,
but I did it a day too early. On the street, the only other
trash bins are empty, left from last week.
I put a teakettle on the curb and it filled
with rain water and then somebody took it.
I’ve started putting water out for my neighbors’
cats, who seem to live on my porch.
Does this mean I don’t trust my neighbors? Yes.
But I don’t trust most people to take care
of animals, not even myself—that’s why I don’t
have a cat and have to steal my neighbors’.
It’s not trash day. One crow says “no no
no no no no” and two others say
“nuh-uh” “nuh-uh.” They sound like a family
on vacation, nothing left to talk about,
just sitting at a restaurant booth commenting
on the local color. Once at IHOP there was a woodstork
walking past the window and we watched the cook
out the back door give it kitchen scraps.
Was it being taken care of? If the volunteer
cactus in the side yard suddenly
has yellow flowers, so thin they could be made
out of crepe paper, does that mean it doesn’t need me?
And the dog at night off leash, running after a shirtless
running man who stopped and let it catch up and lie down
under the streetlight, tail wagging, and the man hit
it slowly, heavily, rhythmically, on the stomach
with the flat of his palm, were they playing?
The two disappearing around the corner, the dog’s tail
still wagging, me startled alone in the dark,
like I was somewhere I wasn’t supposed to be.

About the Author

Claire Eder's poems and translations have appeared in PANK, Midwestern Gothic, the Common, and Guernica, among others. She received an MFA from the University of Florida and is currently pursuing a PhD in poetry at Ohio University.