By on Sep 12, 2011 in Poetry

Speak graphic

    (Everyone needs a dog to adore him, and a cat
to bring him back to reality – Anonymous)

My sister, looking at the poster, Reine de Joie, exclaimed, Wow, this guy looks like my poodle looks, when I kiss him.  Of course, Toulouse-Lautrec’s woman is a prostitute — note the sinuous scarlet dress, the cherry-red lipstick — and the person being kissed on the nose is a rich, fat banker, while my sister is straight as they come.  But her dog adores her.  When he hears the can opener operating, he practically drools.  Then my sister shovels the food onto his plate and swings it back and forth above his nose — Here it is, Sweetie.  Speak!

and the dog obediently produces a dozen doggy shrieks.  But the cat — created on a different day? — may meow piteously — ohhh, what a tragedy — or hiss in melodrama, but would never condone such a churlish act as begging. I had a friend whose Siamese would wake her in the morning, lightly batting her eyelids with a paw.  When Terri opened her eyes, the cat, standing on her chest, would raise its back and lower its face.  Get up, feed me.  How many plaques have you seen that say, God, make me as good as my cat thinks I am?

The ultimate foolish adoration, some say, is the worship of a god, believing him only a mirror of ourselves.  True or not, you have to wonder, in these scenarios, who might best reflect that august behavior.  The human,  who puts out the food and orders, Speak?   The dog — to forgive is canine — but remember that spittle and shriek?  — or the cat, who stretches out on the window ledge as if on the Riviera and looks at you, so magnifiqueHere I am, Sweetie.   Kneel at my feet!

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Margaret Walther is a retired librarian from the Denver metro area and a past president of Columbine Poets, an organization to promote poetry in Colorado. She has been a guest editor for Buffalo Bones and has poems published or forthcoming in many journals, including Connecticut Review, anderbo.com, Quarterly West, Naugatuck River Review, Fugue, The Anemone Sidecar, Sweet: A Literary Confection, Phoebe and Nimrod. She won the Many Mountains Moving 2009 Poetry Contest. Two of her poems published by In Posse Review were selected by Web del Sol in 2010 for its e-SCENE Best of the Literary Journals. She has received two Pushcart Award nominations.