Poems by Laura Ann Reed

“Only Wind”
             By Laura Ann Reed

The indigo water bowl cracked when her calico,
amber-eyed cat failed to return from the vet.

His favorite spot on the foot of her bed
sagged and caved in. The leaves on lindens

where he used to climb—spying
on sparrows and wrens—yellowed

and fell on patio tiles that split in half
recalling the way he rolled on his back,

paws reaching for sky. And those howls
heard at night or just before dawn—

they weren’t the sounds of her sorrow,
only a wailing of wind in the lindens.

“That it Should Weigh So Now”
             By Laura Ann Reed

On a scarred and pitted wall of her heart
a window opens onto a sun-filled patio:
crimson rhododendron, fern, pink azalea
and a solitary birch on whose uppermost
limb a sparrow sings. At the tree’s base
sits her childhood cat—his black shape
no longer bloated like an obsidian ball,
his green eyes no longer glazed with pain.
As she leans over the sill, one velvet ear
swivels in her direction. She’s tempted
to reach out and stroke that ear. But she
holds back as she recalls how he preferred
not to have those sensitive antennae touched,
although he’d always purr heartfelt forgiveness
when she transgressed. Gold, that heart.

If she could stay in his presence
long enough, perhaps she’d succeed
in forgiving her mother—
who failed to take him to the vet
in time to save him
from uremic poisoning.
Perhaps then, that shattered wall
would begin to mend.

- Laura Ann Reed received her B.A. from U.C. Berkeley, and was a dancer in the San Francisco Bay Area prior to becoming Leadership Development Trainer at the San Francisco headquarters of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. She and her husband now reside in western Washington. Her work has been anthologized in How To Love the World: Poems of Gratitude and Hope, and has appeared in Blue Unicorn, Grey Sparrow, The Ekphrastic Review and other journals.

Copyright©2022 by Laura Ann Reed. All Rights Reserved.