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Sample Poems by Sandra Storey

Stray

Don't chase the cat
don't look under the bushes
or up in the trees
don't call here kitty, kitty

sit still on the porch.
breathe normally.
you may kick your foot
if that's your habit.

hum.
chew gum.
put out food that will disappear
into wherever the cat is hiding.

allow the cat to be invisible.
tuna, milk, kibbles
next to water, next to milk
will surely fill it in.

when it appears in daylight
at the edge of your view
keep humming
and blinking.

Look into the future. Listen.
There the cat purrs as you pet it.
Trust the past
when you were out in the night
and alone.



Mendocino

"The ocean is not your friend."
-sign at the check-in desk

Pacific is the lie.
Sunny bright, it shines cold as broken ice,
a storm of dark blue bragging no oxygen.
Whirlpools the size of washing machines
propel renegade logs in random directions
grabbed by crisscross currents and shot ahead
past lumps of scattered tar protruding.

Fists of white grip short, serrated knives
that slash the long and chiseled cliff.
The ocean has left you to watch
here on the westernmost promontory.
And all the time you can hear it
taking more and more away


Off Newport

plunging from the top
of white-capped mountains of water
to the dark hard valley
cut far, far below,
sky a tiny, jagged hole,

took only seconds
again and again
the sea a giant, heaving platform
swirled us to dizzy
thrown up in the air
tossed down
breath knocked out
in the face of the wind
with each slam of the ocean
gray goes on gray goes on gray

we are ordered to do chores:
clench the rope with both hands
pull the sail that way,
now this
duck!
hold on tight

as if we
at the mercy of winds
have control

on land we are
invited to go out again
by the sailors who own the 30-foot cruiser
and report we had such a good time.

the floor turns me over
I gasp
chest muscles cramp,
and the hole for the sky closes over