A STOOP IN SOUTH BROOKLYN
D. Nurkse

The deaf white alley cat
scrutinizes a firefly
skeptically, swiveling
at each lit passage.

Mystery how he survived
so hard a winter.
I couldn’t feed him
or drive him away.

Now he stalks the cracked cement,
all method, inventing triangles,
cornering his prey—
but what is it?

A red ant, a wisp of straw,
a shadow: or he’s just testing
eye against paw.

If I call him
I won’t exist—
but when my wrist turns
to write cat
he’s all pupil.

We almost make each other gods.
We’re the self, when we die
we’ll take the ant and shadow.

The straw will inch ahead alone
to Spica, Deneb,
places that are just names.

 

You can read more poetry by D. Nurkse in the premiere issue of Swink.

D. Nurkse is Poet Laureate of Brooklyn and the author of seven books of poetry, most recently The Fall (Knopf, 2002).

 

© 2007 Swink, Inc.