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“Henry’s Room” and “Birds on Parole”

by Bruce Robinson

“Henry’s Room”

When the wind blows the door closed
and shuts Henry inside the bathroom,
he’s perhaps reminded of the mystery
of the shrewd proviso, or concerned about
the erstwhile inviolability
of potions and admonishments
inimical to cats. But the room is cool,

there is, you’ll understand, a breeze,
and when he looks outside through
the screen window there’s the moon,
the moon fortunate to have caught Henry’s eye,
although when he looks away, it’s gone:
The moon has a lunar agenda.
Not much to do in a locked bathroom,

not for a cat anyway, although let’s
be clear, Henry can and, he’s done it,
close that door, unaided, with ease.
Perhaps he settles down on the window sill,
catches a glimpse of the re-emerging
moon, and then an early-rising
lark or squirrel. There’s a ticking clock

in the corner, but Henry, per our
learning, can’t or won’t tell time. We know, though,
the sky’s still dark, the noises in the house
are few. Now what? Hunker down and ponder
those incoherent certainties that cover
all our moments? It may be he understands
so little of this; please, tell me, if we do.

“Birds on Parole”

When a song comes into their heads,
passerines have the good sense
to just chirp it away, get it out,
be done with it. Henry lies poised
on the window sill, enraptured, and,
even though he’s just eaten, ravenous.
Could writers wish for more,
faced with the slack-jawed
awe of their audience,
spooling out a villanelle
that’s taken months to build,
their gaze resting on readers
without claws, stomachs filled?

Recent work by Bruce Robinson appears or is forthcoming in Maintenant, Spoon River, Tar River Poetry, Trampoline, Seventh Quarry, and The Five-Two.

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