Love Letterz: Poems

Love Letter to my Cat

To my Juliet.

With a soft paw stroking my neck,
you whisper your arrival,
wide-eyed and attentive to my movements
as I slowly bat my eyes open.
You are a shape so familiar to me,
a fluffy silhouette I see out of the corner of my eye
even when I don’t see it out of the corner of my eye,
a small pointed face with those two triangular ears
that perch atop your head, antennae-like;
the tail that slaps softly side-to-side,
restless unless asleep.
My thoughts meander away, dreamlike distractions,
and as my eyes close with certainty,
you brush my cheek with your paw and
sniff my face closely with your twitching nose,
whiskers tickling my nostrils.

Wrinkling my nose and turning my face away,
I cringe and you take a brisk step backwards;
my hand flutters to pet you.
I’m awake—I’m awake—good morning,
the sun bleeding between my closed blinds
and the birds’ wings rustling beneath my window.
Our neighbor’s dog barks, and you jolt, pausing
and listening
and listening
and listening,
and not until I’ve pet you three more times do your
alarmed eyes pull away from the window,
and three more pets later your muscles relax,
your attention rejoining us.

Then your eyelids swoon, sinking low,
eyeing me sweetly, charmingly,
arching your body into the crux of each pet,
purring reverberating, your paws dancing upon
the cushiony blanket, drawing close to me.
Your movements are so much like dancing,
like flowing yoga with cartoon-like grace;
you lower yourself, settling downwards into the
nest of softness beside me.
As I massage your temple, your eyes
contentedly close, and you scooch closer
and closer to me, your vibrating warmth
so tender and loving.

This is the essence of our relationship,
the penultimate bond.
I could speculate a thousand conceptions
which may or may not cross your consciousness,
but in moments like these,
when our existences are nestled lovingly—
and especially when you cower with apprehension
at everyone’s presence except mine—
the understanding of our relationship is mutual,
the trust and companionship both cherished.
I don’t have to wonder if you love me,
or if you know I love you,
because when you curl up to me,
the bass of your purr thumping loudly,
the feelings of love are reciprocated inherently;
when you sputter blissfully, eyes closed and pleased,
I feel the word that you don’t know by name
but by feeling: love, and it’s exceptional,
the remarkable relationship between cat and human.

Love Letter to my Body

To my body

Every breath is a wave,
each blink is a sunrise;
your existence is miracle,
and your presence divine.

When in the morning you wake,
I thank you for rising;
you have brought me to see
yet another day in this life.

Feminine magic,
sweet majestic angel of nature,
you are sacred and strong,
wondrous and heavenly.

Roses look beautiful,
Lilacs smell sweet,
without you I’d know nothing
of such joyous earthly pleasures.

Love Letter to my Eighth Grade Notebook

Dear Eighth Grade Notebook,

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart
for your dutiful service, Madam Notebook.
If my middle school emotional turmoil was a war,
then you were the soldier in the trenches,
doing the dirty work,
going to toe-to-toe for the cause,
shouldering the bullets of
my angsty scribbled penciling
and charging into every battle
with blank pages
of college ruled lines.

The way you persevered,
headstrong through fallen friendships,
unfazed by whiny ramblings,
non-judgmental of lame song lyrics,
enduring of epic unrequited crushes—
I’ll never know how you could be so
loyal and brave.

You have not emerged unscathed:
I’ve kept your green cover
as a formality, all these years,
even though it long ago
detached itself from the spiral binding,
the surface scratched and
faded white in patches;
my feelings and anxieties
tattooed upon your body
in ugly arrangements,
excerpts from my blog
printed out and
shoved into the folder pockets
in each of the three dividers.

Your hideous physicality
is a testament to your sacrifice,
the pages you’ve laid down
in the line of fire,
unthreatened by even
my moodiest,
most aggressive drama.
I cannot thank you enough,
because without you,
I may have said
some of those things
and that would have been
quite nuclear
and embarrassing.

So now you can rest, at last,
dear notebook,
in quiet retirement,
alongside my other veteran notebooks
who’ve served as you have,
though none having experienced
the caliber of devastation
that you faced.
You are my first love,
my first hero,
and I cherish you today
with your curled edges,
grown soft with wear,
having seen me at my ugliest
and still welcoming me
with open pages.

Happy Valentine’s Day, readers!

For more poetry from Slanted Spines, view the Poems page!

Where the Crawdads Sing: A Book Review

Note: This book review is intended for readers who have already read Where the Crawdads Sing, and so this contains several significant spoilers!

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens is a delectable debut novel written by a woman who has a BS in Zoology, a PhD in Animal Behavior, and has spent time as a wildlife scientist in Africa. Currently she lives in North Carolina, where this book takes place.

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The Missing Chair

“Things don’t just disappear; they can always be found if you know where to look,” Leslietta Bernadard had said, rather fatefully, to her boss on Monday, as he was searching the office for his car keys at the end of the workday. Perhaps the universe overheard her and fancied itself a prankster, or perhaps her coworker overheard and fancied himself a cynic, because either way, Leslietta Bernadard walked into Donald Troy Insurance on Tuesday and found herself without a chair.

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Olive and the Slippary Chair

Olive and the Slippary Chair

Written in March 2004

Once upon a time there was a kitten. The kitten was a girl and her name was Olive. Olive was sweet and had soft, smooth fur. She was all black and had a white spot on her back. She was smart and she wasn’t very heavy. Her owner had an office in their house. Olive liked going in the office. The only problem was, she got nervous when people came in. Olive thought to herself, “I must start being brave.” One day, a man walked into the office. He had a cat with him. Olive meowed so loud you could hear her throughout the house. Olive’s owner picked her up and put her down next to his chair. Her owner started petting the cat. Olive jumped on the chair. She slipped on the chair. She thought it was like a slide. That’s it! If she was having fun she forgot about being scared. Olive lived happily ever after.

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N. T. Ed the Snowkid

As cheery, holiday bells ring in the background, I welcome you into our story for today, dear reader! Happy winter solstice and the merriest of holidays to you, and I hope this sweet little tale will provide you with delight.

It was one holiday season not too long ago, when snow was gently tumbling in large, fluffy flakes upon the mountains that loomed above Spinesville, a winter flutter bestowed upon the densely forested pine trees which grew like fur from the rolling mountains—and upon one of those mountains, in his cabin, whose chimney steadily smoked, the smoke mingling with the snowfall, Ned Theodore Ed was rummaging around in his basement as the fireplace upstairs smoldered. The early evening sky was saturating into a deeper and deeper shade of blue, and N.T.’s dinner baked in the oven while he was moving armloads of cardboard boxes around.

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The Practice of Gratitude

Right now, I can feel that my body is coming down with a cold. I’ve been stalling it off for a couple weeks, but I think one of those darn bugs finally broke through and got to me. How do you feel when you’re sick? Other than “lousy,” if you’re like most people when you’re sick, all you want is to return to good health. As we’re blowing our irritated nose for the one-hundredth time this morning, or as we’re launched into a coughing fit in the middle of a conversation, we’re probably thinking, “I just want to be healthy again! Then I will feel so much better!”

The “high” we feel when we return to good health after being sick is pretty significant. A friend once told me it’s one of the greatest feelings he’s experienced——we almost feel like a superhero, being able to breathe through our nose again! But after the initial couple days (if even that long) of being relatively healthy again, we forget about how much better we feel by comparison, and we begin to take our good health for granted again.

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A Girl who Stood by the Brook

A Girl Who Stood by the Brook

Written in January 2004

One day a girl stood by a brook. She was reading a book about a foot. She shook and the book landed in the middle of the brook. She put up her hood and got her fishing pole. She made sure the hook was sharp. She got it! Her mother came by to tell her I wanted to cook some chocolate for my little book saver.

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Miss Mess: A Story

When Maggie and Bianca received a phone call from Elizabeth responding to their Facebook ad for a third roommate, the two young women had no idea they were agreeing to live with a human trash generator. The ad had been listed for a couple weeks and after receiving a few messages from outright weirdos, Elizabeth seemed like a normal college student by comparison, one who they thought they could even potentially be friends with. When they asked her to list a few facts about herself, Elizabeth responded, “I’m a Fashion Design student who draws inspiration from Vera Wang, I grew up in Maine, and I’m an only child.”

Sadly, Maggie and Bianca were not privy to the implications of Elizabeth’s third personal fact. Sophomore college students themselves, the two of them were just moving into their first apartment after having lived in the dorms the prior year, and so their experience with roommates was limited. In their eyes, the worst possible scenario for prospective a roommate was someone who listened to loud, angsty music into the wee hours of the night (or morning, by then) and who didn’t shower but once a week. They had no idea that the worst candidate for a roommate could be a pretty blond girl with French-tipped nails and a love of classical symphony.

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N.T. Ed and the Apple Cider Whodunnit?

It was an Autumnal Affair, that autumn night.

It was a night that existed after a week’s preparation, a night that was the result of several shopping excursions, hours of crafting and decorating, and outstanding social suavity, a night that culminated from a desire to give the seasonally affected a reason to celebrate this otherwise possibly depressing impending winter. Ned Theodore Ed and Margaret Hadfield worked diligently on this party, fashioning every detail with eager attentiveness. Continue reading “N.T. Ed and the Apple Cider Whodunnit?”

Timothy, Logan, and the Big Move

Timothy, Logan, and the Big Move

Written in May 2004

Once upon a time there was a boy named Timothy Adams. His mom was a Dr. and he lived on Cherry St. His parents owned over 100 yd. His best friend Logan lived on Crazy Ave. They both lived in the U.S.A. and they were almost neighbors. One day Logan’s parents told Timothy’s parents that they were moving out of state. Mr. and Mrs. Adams told Timothy that day. Timothy burst into tears. Then Timothy had an idea. Continue reading “Timothy, Logan, and the Big Move”