Kathy Austin

Tonight as I stand talking to you
in the crisp October air by the front door,
I notice your breath – visible, tangible;
it is that cold, I think.
Soon you will be gone, momentarily,
before leaving forever.

Later, I pedal over to feed your cats, open the door,
your house already a ghost of itself –
a bed, a chair, a few dishes
scattered about for you and the cats –
that’s about all.
I carefully scoop dried food from a can
into separate dishes for each cat.
They are impatient,
stand up with paws on my knees,
mouth wide open meowing.
Their meows echo in the near-empty room.
I remember when poetry bloomed
like flowers in your house –
wild, improbable, words like colorful petals
pointing in all directions.

Now I pedal home, stopping to pick the last
of the yellow mums by the door,
gather them in my hands,
their stems and leaves dry and prickly,
and slip inside to arrange them,
one by one, in a vase.

about the author
I have been writing poetry ever since I could put words together, and was later inspired by poets such as Emily Dickinson, Mark Strand, and Margaret Atwood. I especially enjoy writing poems about nature, relationships, journeys, and spirituality. I believe that poetry is crucial to our humanity. It gives us a voice, a different perspective on the world, and an appreciation for the beauty and power of words. At this time in history, that is especially important. I have received awards for poetry from the Iowa Poetry Day Association and the Paul Laurence Dunbar Memorial Competition. My poems have appeared in The Writing Path I anthology, Nexus magazine, and various local publications.