TODAY, AND SOMETIMES, I ASK MYSELF,
"WHO I AM IN LOVE WITH?"
A dad calls out “No beso?” and purses his lips
to a son unkissed and smirking,
already walking off to class with mine.
Later on, working—always
on—I admire in pictures
the articulate limbs of a burlesque
performer, and I wonder
if she is the one.
I can’t decide
am I in love with Pamukkale,
and her tiered mineral baths,
or with the saying “Cairo writes,
Beirut publishes, and Baghdad reads”?
I have never been.
The only place I know
is my own body.
The only language I speak
is a moment, a glance,
a bite—just enough
Two black cats, the perfect
accessories to my boyfriend’s
austere town home: white carpet,
They could hide nowhere really,
so it was no wonder they were
thoroughly enamored with the dark
musty space underneath where
the new bathtub was being put in.
When the plumbing was completed
and the wall finally sealed up,
they’d both lounge in the bathroom
and mourn while we brushed our teeth.
When it didn’t stop after a few weeks,
I began to wonder if they had stashed
corpses of birds or mice or maybe
had erected an altar and were devastated
at no longer being able to worship their
cat-god in private. But then I thought,
Silly human, cats pray to no one.
Shannon Phillips earned her MFA in creative writing from California State University, Long Beach. In 2011, she started Carnival, an online literary magazine, which she transitioned into Picture Show Press. She is the recipient of the 28th Moon Prize from Writing In A Woman’s Voice and the author of two chapbooks: Body Parts (dancing girl press) and My Favorite Mistake (Arroyo Seco Press). When she is not busy courting her cat’s affection, she is probably obsessing over something: a line, a muse, a font. Tweet her @hungrybookstore.