by Gregory Dolnikowski
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Two poems by Felicia Mitchell
Minerva at 48
If she’s not teaching somebody something,
or whispering advice to the current chief of state,
there’s at least one committee meeting to attend:
dramatic options, window repair, how to shoe a horse.
Last week, she was the keynote speaker at a conference.
The Crewel Stitch in Post-Modern Pillows
But Minerva has to sleep sometimes,
even if lately she’s as restless as she was with Ulysses
when the two of them had their chance to sail the seas
and he woke up instead with an entirely different lover.
There are all these dreams spinning in her head like yarn.
In one, Minerva seduces Ulysses to lose her virginity.
She ends up with children, a sexual history, and two ex-husbands.
Penelope becomes the friend she’s on the phone to every night.
It’s almost worth it to wake up in the middle of the night
covered in sweat while a hot flash wafts over her armored body
if she can lie there trembling to remember another dream
like when she reinvents commerce so nobody will shop at Wal-Mart,
or when she finds the cure for cancer before Juno loses a breast.
Life itself, not lack of sleep, is what makes her tired.
How many women can juggle as much as she does
and still find time to check their panties for a spot of blood?
Music for Menopause, her CD project, is almost complete.
Tomorrow she will tout a treadmill, her new-age symbol.
Friday she will go on The Today Show to talk about her latest book.
For the Woman Who Does Everything: Do a Little More
“Wretched soul that I am,” he said, “I have no heart for a pet.”
Ciacco the Glutton
Raw flesh is not for sale at PetSmart,
but then you wouldn’t expect it to be,
just as you wouldn’t expect to find a three-headed dog
with the tail of a serpent hunched over in a ferret cage
with an eviscerated plastic toy floating in a water bowl.
The howls coming from this creature are almost human,
about a quarter female, like Echinda, the monster’s mother.
They’re enough to make the newly neutered tabby cat
break out of its own cage to offer the creature its dried-out teats—
enough to make me forget my moratorium on new pets.
Nearby, less maternal, a dachshund-poodle mix, twin black labs,
and retired greyhound with the face of Hercules
settle on their haunches, watching the pathetic mongrel
dropped off earlier by an obese old man in dark glasses.
Outside the store, rain, sleet, snow, and hail are falling
on shoppers who have gathered at the window to stare.
Only the courageous can enter the automatic door now,
which is how I came to be here, just as brave and wise as Virgil,
listening to the old man tell his tale of woe to the assistant manager.
Who was she to know the animal was not his to give?
Who was I to know that Ceberus was not mine to buy?
When you’re standing at the gates of hell with a charge card,
even a monster can look like a faithful companion.
Read Felicia Mitchell’s poetry, bio and more at http://www.ehcweb.ehc.edu/faculty/fmitchel/