/jay brecker

Self-Portrait As Mary Ruefle’s Kitten

                                                    —after On Sentimentality
                                                    “… if we fail to be moved by the kitten, something is terribly wrong.”

what to do       cat around
nothing            not a thing
just                    be

a causeless      emotion
this hummingbird rumble
alive                  in poetry

balled in a lap or the slop
of kibble          or prose
beyond             the page

oscillates          across the floor
like a ruffle      now & then
then back         again

lapping             like a tongue
rueful               tastes sweetness
yet                     cannot secrete

it                        or the eye
sees                   beauty
rough                compressed

full of                play
tries to              sustain it
only to              reduce it

Jay Brecker works and writes in southern California. His poems are forthcoming or have appeared in Permafrost, Lily Poetry Review, Ocean State Review, The Inflectionist Review, South 85 Journal, I-70 Review, RHINO Poetry, and elsewhere. His manuscript, A Ceiling is a Wall Seeking, was a semi-finalist for the 2020 Wheeler Prize for Poetry.