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Cat's Cradle

Robyn Sarah
From:   The Touchstone, Poems New & Selected. Anansi, 1992


When women together sit sipping
cold tea and tugging at the
threads of memory, thoughtfully
pulling at this
or that bit or loop, or slipping
this loop over that finger till
warp and weft of past lives begin
crazily to unwind, when women sit
smoking and talking, the talk
making smoke in the air, when they shake
shreds of tobacco out of a crumpled pack
and keep drinking the same weak tea
from the same broken pot, something clicks
in the springs of the clock
and it's yesterday again,
and the sprung yarn rolls down loose
from the spool of the moon.

When women together sit talking
an afternoon, when they talk
the sun down, talk stars, talk
dawn--they talk up a dust
of sleeping dogs and bones
and they talk a drum for the dust
to dance to, till the dance
drums up a storm; when women
sit drumming fingers on tops
of tables, when the tables turn
into tops that spin and hum
and the bobbin of the moon
keeps spinning its fine yarn down
to catch fingers, when fingers catch
talk in a cat's cradle, and turn
talk into a net to catch the curve
of the storm--then it's talk
against talk, till the tail
of the storm trails into dust
and they talk the dust back down.

Things that matter and don't matter
are caught together, things done and undone,
and the kettle boils dry and over
while they lean closer to peer down
into the murky water where last night's dream
flicks its tail and is gone
(and the reel of the moon keeps cranking
its long line down)--when women together
sit sipping cold tea and sawing on the strings
of memory, it is an old tune.
The rice sticks to the bottom of the pan,
and things get left out in the rain.



Robyn Sarah's works copyright © to the author.


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