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Two Poems
Stuart Greenhouse



A Cynical Life


The cat who wore too many pajamas took a walk around the block, said
I’d rather be in bed but the walk around the block takes me there.
There was a story he told me about telling his daughter a story daily: She was comforted.

He was funny to look at, but not if you weren’t sleepy. He always was, and all those pajamas.
If he wasn’t a cat, who could bear it? Dozing on the stone wall by the bus stop, or
the moldy tree stump three doors away.

I stooped to scrub his nape, but he didn’t feel it, he was asleep
and besides, he was wearing too many pajamas.
It was almost like he was a real cat, a pile of old

doll clothes there shaped like there was breathing inside, one
with a daughter and opinions on obscure nineteenth-century Russian literature.
I thought, then, he might wake up, and yawn like the cat the clothes

pretending to be him around him were telling me he was
and say, through rough licks, of how he was almost home
to the story he was telling the story his daughter was telling:

Of how one day, sweetie, there’ll be a cat who’ll purr like he’s more
than a contour of seams radiating in soft stitches outward,
wake up, and lose the pajamas.









A Broken Mirror, In Each Shard Light


to intimate space as a structure of intimate moments

is to intimate space as home

reread space as home

to find yourself first break apart the way

crushed ice in a stone mixing bowl just moments ago set aside
from the column of sun which has been advancing
all morning is sometimes

self is environment
sometimes a beverage

enhancer sometimes arthritis sometimes
a bookmark sometimes an email forwarded

carets past legibility or a flash game overplayed or some other malaise the moment cups
in its cold palm

I feel watery in my head, a cold is coming on

yesterday was sunny, yesterday was breezy, yesterday was me out under the sky (dear room with no top I am fond of, intimation that I am more than a structure of intimate moments, dear sky, near surrender, clear one-way door all ours lead to):

I hadn’t been out in any unified way, nor
had I collected myself for the journey:

clouds so ghostly quick, gone

before the cartographers could agree to notice, come back,
you asked me to say as if I were the saying,

step into our body. We did. Was I

maybe a little
like the sun, reflecting off, convecting you?
                                                                     My cold

today is the fence set through

my perception, my answer, my shivering

in bed the door

back to myself




Stuart Greenhouse is the author of the chapbooks What Remains (Poetry Society of America) and All Architecture (End & Shelf Press). New poems are forthcoming in Denver Quarterly and Nat. Brut.