For this month’s blog my wife, the poet Kimberly Esslinger, and I have written a joint poem—
Walking in Moonlight Before the Pandemic
and what is done to the least of these….
Where is the god of woman. Of cats. Of dead cats?
Of wives. Of midnight walks with dogs and the normalcy of silence.
And day becoming more like night in this stillness. All the crowded spaces. Open.
Empty. A bag floats down at night. A grocery bag. Onto the hood of a
speeding hatchback. Not a bag. But now a cat. Someone’s cat. Dead.
Just like that. A hatchback. And yes, here I was, with my dogs, wanting to believe
it was alive. I start to call her, she. Did she just move? Did you see her move?
My wife has gloves. A box. A plan. But I push her away.
I believe in god. And she could heal this cat.
She would. She would if I would wait long enough.
And the streetlights ring yellow light, cast shadows, and
we have no idea what’s coming. Like this dead cat who belonged somewhere
else. Maybe to someone…. But there’s this virus. It’s coming.
You do not need to be fragile to be run over by a hatchback, or a truck.
You do not need to believe in god. And I sat nursing the cat into her next life.
Next to an empty box. Unused gloves. I lifted her from the street to the soft
grass under the moonlight. And arranged her legs like she was running.
towards the uncertainty coming at all of us.
–Marie Cartier and Kimberly Esslinger
In These United States, March 2020