Conjunctions:58 Riveted: The Obsession Issue

Hey Diddle, Diddle

And the cat jumped over the Milk Moon, the Spoon Moon, the Sleepy
                             Mean Moon. Not the Flying Fish Moon. Or the Tiger Shark
            Moon. Moon of the Terrible. Moon of the Raccoon.

   Not the moon that swung atop the arboretum: the Peach Moon. Peony 
Moon. The Moon When Trees Pop. The Lotus Moon, Mum Moon.
       Raspberry, Blackberry, or Sassafras Moon. It was the pelican that 
                   perched on the Crane Moon.

The cat never jumped over the secret moon peeping out of swift, high cloud: 
          The Bony Moon, the Windy Moon. The Hungry Moon. Moon of Ice.
                 Singing Moon, o Mulberry Moon 
                                                     With a full-moon’s might.

The maroon-colored cat jumped over the magnificent Moon of Horses. 
          The Moon When Geese Return in Scattered Formation. Moon When
the Calves Grow Hair. The Moon When Leaves Are Green. The Moon 
                                When Leaves Are Gone.

          Never the dreaded Dragon Moon. The Panther Moon. The Moon When 
                 Horns Are Broken Off. Never the Twelfth Moon when a million
                       brilliant eyes light dense bramble 
                                                          Below that most hallowed one:
          The Moon When Eyes Are Sore From Staring at Bright Moon-Lit Snow.



The cat belongs to 
Me. The cat belongs 
To the house. The cat belongs to 
The other cat. The cat 
Belongs to itself. The cat 
Belongs to the forest. The 
Cat belongs to the bird and mouse. 
The cat belongs to the mountain lion. 
The cat belongs to no one. The cat 
Belongs to nothing. The cat belongs
To everyone, everything.

The cat has a name 
That I gave it. Everyone knows the cat’s name 
Is not its name. It is my name for the cat. 
Sometimes the cat refuses to acknowledge 
This name and sometimes the cat 
Plays along with the life I’ve created for the cat. 
Sometimes the cat pretends that it doesn’t live in a realm 
Different from the one that the cat and I 
Live in together. The cat has needs that must be met 
For the cat to live in my house, though most of the cat’s time 
Is spent elsewhere. I invite the cat to live with me 
So I can perceive some of the “elsewhere” 
In which the cat spends much cat time. 
The cat shares what I can’t see by maintaining 
An existence in my house and by responding to 
The name I gave the cat.

I know there will be a moment 
In the circuitry of space-time in which the cat will discard 
The name and forsake my house for good 
And will exist only in the fields 
I cannot see without the cat living in my house. On that day, 
I might say, “The cat has moved full-time into the wild.” 
Or I might say, “Miau-miau has run away.”

Martine Bellen’s most recent collection of poetry is This Amazing Cage of Light: New and Selected Poems (Spuyten Duyvil). She is a librettist of Moon in the Mirror (colibrettist Zhang Er, composer Stephen Dembski), which will be performed during the Chinese New Year at Cleveland State University.