Two Poems

by Matthew Walsh

Matthew Walsh is a queer writer from Nova Scotia. His work has appeared in The Malahat Review, Carousel, The Found Poetry Review, Existere, and Callisto Magazine.

THE INDIVIDUAL CATS

Superstore parking lot December 19th Dartmouth and Mom
looked like she was smoking but she wasn’t smoking.

It was definitely scary to go to another country
but in the new year she was going down

to Cuba Town. She said it would be all nuts
down there. She was so excited. Goats were

like people’s cats down and and that’s what she likes.
Real life. We had stopped to get clementines for Christmas

and we were such tourists. It feels like we are living life,
Mom looking through the fruit for the fruit

cake it was all just sort of laughable like that. A do you remember
the time thing. Year of the rabbit long drive to Musquodobit.

My mom likes to keep clementines in the closet
which would be so good in a poem if I liked to interior

decorate. She was extremely tired of the snow
angel in the front yard, all the nursing shifts.

Maybe she would meet a man in Camaguey
who would ask if she liked her diamonds in her ears.

When you’re in a new place you have to make friends.
I want to tell her that sometimes I hope my friend

comes home and catches me singing to the cat
songs about him being a baby cat. I don’t

think she would get it. It is one of my artistic outlets
and she is very sciencey. I had put on her bra

once and she said you do not have breasts
which was biologically correct. When I was born

the apartment upstairs thought my mother had a Siamese
cat that cried all night. Her favourite saying was born

then. Get your head out of your ass. Her son wasn’t a cat
so get your head out of the tabloids. Mother gives birth to creature

who wear’s woman’s fashion. Once I had a friend who said that
my fingernails were too long for a boy. How should a boy

be? I haven’t shaved my back for two weeks. All this in the produce
section with my mother in Dartmouth. We drove past all the relative

houses and I curled up in the backseat with the clementines
these fancy little oranges that my mother loved these

little orange loves. I got home I unloaded everything
out of the car. The tree was wearing too much jewelry

more garland than Judy Garland. My mother is real strict
about the tree and the decorating. I was five when I saw a tree

talking in Mic Mac Mall his name was Woody
the Talking Christmas Tree. He rolled his eyes

open and asked how can I help you? Talking to guys
gave me the nervous systems. He was so tall.

I had put everything on the table and the clementines
were bad. They were a weird color I wish I took a photo.

Mom would take a return flight back to the store and return
them to the place they came from. I really wanted to

have a poem about me for once. When she went to bed I scratched
and meowed at the door until she asked what are you, a cat?

and in the morning when I admitted to my catness
I circled in and out of her feet and she googled

that it was not uncommon in the feline world
for communication to vary amongst individual cats.

 

WHEELBARROW AND CABBAGE

My grandfather used to lie about his profession.
He said he was a school teacher, taught math

to his pupils. When he took me to his garden
he took attendance of what was there. There rows

of pumpkin, a full plot of cauliflower and broccoli
and one of cabbages so big he didn’t know how to move

them. All his sons have moved on. When he was younger
he used to put them in the wheelbarrow

and push them up to the house at night. Grandad
he would walk down the aisles of cabbages

counting the heads. This year he had too many
of them. He said if he didn’t pick them

before September they would turn into children.
I didn’t need any more brothers and sisters

and I didn’t want to take a cabbage to school
and say, yes, it’s weird but he’s actually

my uncle. My grandfather took a knife
to the underside of them and lifted them into

his wheelbarrow which would only six and me
comfortably. I liked riding with my family

and when we got to the house he would
pretend he didn’t know which one was me.

He would put me on the table with the vegetables
and I would try and convince him

that he did not grow me. I was not a cabbage, I thought I was a boy
or at least tomato. Half vegetable half fruit.

 


Matthew Walsh is a queer writer from Nova Scotia. His work has appeared in The Malahat Review, Carousel, The Found Poetry Review, Existere, and Callisto Magazine.

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