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Poems

Thing

We love our cat
for her self
regard is assiduous
and bland,

for she sits in the small
patch of sun on our rug
and licks her claws
from all angles

and it is far
superior
to “balanced reporting”1

though, of course,
it is also
the very same thing.


(From Seven Poems, Beard of Bees Books, 2004, page 2).

1 This poem also appears in the book Up to Speed (2004). The author explains about it: “This was written during the invasion of Iraq when journalists were “embedded” with the military. So war was hovering in the background. I started out with nothing in my mind but to describe my cat, but when I wrote the line “from all angles”, it reminded me of the way news outlets like to congratulate themselves on their fairness and balance, covering the news “from all angles.” Clearly it’s pretty hard to do that while “embedded” in a tank. So a metaphor occurred to me at that point. The media was assiduously licking the claws of the American war machine. But then what happens to my poor cat?” (“An E-Mail Interview with Rae Armantrout by Eric Elshtain & Matthias Regan”, in Rae Armantrout: Collected Prose. San Diego: Singing Horse Press 2007, pages 86-102).