Sunday, November 30, 2008

she was just

"the cat lady" to most.

They didn't know her husband
left her when she was pregnant
with their first
and only child, which she
lost a month later.

They didn't know she read a book
a week, kept black swans in a pond
behind her house, cooked for
homebound AIDS patients.

They didn't know she had the longest
legs of any girl in her high school
stockings only reaching to mid-thigh.

They didn't know she had traveled to
twenty-two other countries, and
had lovers in all of them.

They didn't know she was christened
"Liliana Cornsilk Whitfield"

She was just "the cat lady,"
but she didn't mind.
She painted the pictures from her
memories, and kept making more.

7 comments:

Scot said...

great piece--strong to the end

Jo said...

Very good, Holly.

Julie said...

I know this woman! I love it! I love her! This poem makes me think of the wonderful people I have met in the local nursing homes. The world sees them as old or senile, but they have so many amazing stories to tell. You are one of the special people who take the time to listen to those stories (whether this poem is "true" or not...the truth of this woman is real).

I particularly love the fact that your "cat lady" had long legs and many lovers:) You have done her a great justice with this beautiful tribute. I've been away for a week or so, and I have really missed reading your work. I'll say it again, Holly...please keep 'em coming!

christine said...

Holly, I love this poem! What a character you've created. I want more about her, even a book of them. I know, I'm greedy.

ps: I finished the response poem, but I'm going to e it to you first.

holly said...

Thanks guys...I guess my concept for this (not that you need to know authorial intent, but anyway) is this is sort of a me-type person when I am old. hehe.

Dick said...

A neat treatment of a well-worked theme. It builds well towards it payoff.

Beryl Singleton Bissell said...

When visiting nursing homes I often wonder who those people are -- mouths agape, heads slung back. Sometimes I meet those who knew them and the revelations are stunning . . . much like the secrets your "cat lady" holds.

I'm so glad that Christine directed me here.