almost unbearably late, in a collection
of verses peopled with clutter, with broken, used
objects begging for resale, reanimation,
old things busy deluding themselves
that they had once lived,

at just the right moment, you might say,
after pages cluttered with people who have failed
the poet or whom the poet has failed, a kind
of grace arrives through the visitation
of a dead cat via the touch

of its sister’s paw on the poet’s leg. And I,
who am not moved by cats but who once loved
a man who dearly loved a cat, that man years
gone, the beloved cat now ancient
yet breathing, am moved,

reminded how the deceased never return,
but the living often do, coming back to themselves
after long absences, desperate wardrobe and
address changes, an absurd hairstyle,
untold uncollectibles.

Ron Drummond is a poet living in New York. His chapbook, Why I Kick At Night was the winner of the 2004 Portlandia Group Prize. His work is represented in the textbook Literature as Meaning, the anthologies Poetry Nation, Poetry After 9/11, This New Breed, Latin Lovers and Saints of Hysteria, along with many literary journals. His translations, in collaboration with Guillermo Castro, of poems by Olga Orozco have appeared in U.S. Latino Review, Guernica and Terra Incognita.