my dad’s old dog used to go to its food dish over and over all day because its hope was inexhaustible

the small furtive cat 
is at the door. 
it is pale blonde.
it mews to be let inside, 
where its food dish waits.
its outside cry 
is that of hunger. 

the small furtive cat, 
pale blonde and
hungry, is now
inside. it is distrustful 
of me, instantly. 
in its need, it eats 
quickly and quickly
slinks to its hiding.

the small furtive cat 
now feels a different hunger, 
that of fear. fear
it expresses as a low, 
guttural yowl. i open
the door and walk away
from it. 

the small furtive cat,
slung low to the ground, 
makes its darting exit, 
back into the back
yard’s swirling need. 

i wait at the door of love. 
my protestations to be let in, 
a high mewling. 

occasionally, i am allowed
inside. my hunger draws me 
back, despite my fear. 

once inside, fear 
quickly overtakes me. 
i become furtive and disquiet. 
i am guttural and frenetic.

i am unable to quiet 
my fear. i am expelled back
out to the howling need 
of outside. outside,
my hunger draws me back.

inside, i am unable
to stay. 

Jakub Schikaneder. 1911. Night in Old Prague

Published by Zak

an intertidal island in an ocean of impermanence.

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