Chorus Blog is our opportunity as the team behind Meow Meow Pow Pow to share our interpretation of the themes we ask writers to submit work for. Here is our Chorus Blog on... "Cat's Out of the Bag."
mums - MARIE MARANDOLA
Sunday - Krystle Griffin
Watch a cat’s attention as it darts towards outside the window, birds tauntingly chirping its name. Their pupils dilate like sharks when a scent of prey currents by. Focus becomes laser sharp after lazily licking their tuft. A supple pouch that rests at the bottom of their abdomen sways as they pounce to the ledge. Chortling through the glass pane as if the birds give a shit. Pigeons continue to plop on the wire, cooing the cat’s torment. Possibly more cruel than a cat and mouse game, the pigeon swings freely. It has the pleasure of knowing what it is like to feel the wind intimately. Showing the house cat arrogantly what it is missing.
Yet what does a bird make of this… It has the advantage of a bird’s eye view, to fly wherever it wishes to go, to sit on telephone wires and scourge. But does it know it’s being watched? Observed, plaguing predators that cannot reach it. Becoming an afternoon source of an entertainment ripple effect, cat watches bird as humans watch cat. All the while, the world sits around them. These tiny specks, snowflakes in the mound, a blip.
We watch her from your bed, the cat dancing on the ledge. We delight in her sounds. We watch as snow floats down from the sky as the clouds shed their crystal dandruff. Like the dandruff collecting on the cat’s black tail, a starry night that sways ever so often. Like how Head and Shoulders reminds me of your shower rack. Its smell, while not appealing on its own, mixes with your scalp and leaves behind traces of when you were here. I huff and ingest the place where your head slept, remembering how you buried your head into my chest. Remembering when your head dives into my neck. Remembering the soft kisses placed in there.
We watch her from your bed, the cat dancing on the ledge. We delight in her sounds. We watch as snow floats down from the sky as the clouds shed their crystal dandruff.
in a past life we were executioners - Kim GORANSSON
The smell of Laundry - Jane-Rebecca Cannarella
Salad piled in a butter-colored bowl, leaves in messy disarray like the flyaways of a wizard’s beard. At 30, I convinced myself that all meals tasted better standing at the kitchen counter, eating out of shallow bowls. I’ve taken eight years of silent meals standing and alone, stems and leaves pocketed in my mouth.
I hunched over my phone; the morning sun bounced its rays off the glass, obscuring my scrolling by accentuating the grease on the phone from my forever-damp cheeks. I smudged the screen’s sheen to read an article about how scientists had turned a spinach leaf into beating human heart cells, the pouched gloss of piled spinach still dissolving in my mouth.
That Tuesday in the middle of a month with no beginning nor end, the morning breakfast salad quickly disappeared into a slick of vegetable oil and white vinegar. My back ached as I pressed over the Formica and read about how scientists decided to use the system of veins already in place from a spinach leaf to try to engineer a solution for organ shortage. The same abundant plant in my mouth, moments from its transformation; after five days, the cells began to thump. Thrumming with life, the spinach was more multifaceted and mysterious than anyone I knew.
Distracted by the news, my elbow knocked into the bowl, and a tidal of oil splashed on my white t-shirt, spreading slowly, making clear the fabric. Was the spinach dead when it was plucked or when I ate it? Or was it still alive in a hollow body I use as a home? Alone in the kitchen, I removed the stained shirt, padded calloused bare feet into a bedroom decorated with mountains of laundry, and dropped its limp body onto a mound. I tongued salad remnants stuck in an unfilled cavity.
March is always the saddest month. Tuesdays are the worst days of the week. Tuesdays in March are the least likable days of all.
April arrived like the sun rising at midnight; a dozen tittering birds bounced outside the window. On the first Saturday of April, the kitchen filled with the morning sun as I leaned over the counter scrolling through a feed of online strangers whom I call friends before stopping at a post where a person I never met encouraged his bountiful followers to improve their lives by spring cleaning. Desire is a desperation, and in the desire for any improvement, I left the kitchen to the mountain range in the bedroom: a bewildered trail of discarded items I thought I loved. I gathered a heap randomly and stepped into the stunning yellow of the day to walk the four suburban blocks to the laundromat. The birds were going mad in the bushy tops of oak trees.
The smell of laundromats is that of late-in-the-season tangerines and the music of machinery. Once, when I was 22, while at the same laundromat, I brought a black suitcase filled with clothes, and put them in the dryer for too long, and drank Merlot out of a red plaid thermos while sitting in the sky-blue plastic chair. I thought myself so grown up at the time.
The discarded dirty garments tumbled into the washing machine piece by piece, puzzles from periods of unremembered abandonment cast into a growing hill. The sweatshirt pelted with white cat hair, a jacket with a patch of a palomino horse small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, and the white t-shirt specked with oil from the morning I learned of the beating heart of spinach leaves - how I ate the spinach while reading about their veiny humanity.
The remaining leaves had fed me throughout March, alone at the dark kitchen counter, an unconscious kinship with the pulsing of a plant as fellowship, my own heart bloodless in the deadening season.
I pressed the shirt to my face before dropping it in the machine and thought of the veins of spinach so similar to ours. I held my hand over my heart to see if the spinach had helped with its beating. The April sun shone upon the linoleum floor, fabric softener—the smell of flowers—a haze around the laundromat attendees, together in our task.
I sat on the sky-blue plastic chair. A tall man sat beside me. He had thinning hair the color of wet red rocks and wore a faded denim jacket with nickel-sized buttons on the lapel. He bumped his knees into mine as he adjusted his cricket legs into a more comfortable position, then quickly apologized. I waved it off, tried to smile, tried to remember the politeness of how to talk to strangers. I asked him how he was doing on such a beautiful day. He swept his long fingers over his face before he responded, “I am acceptable, and I’m alive.”
In the silence that followed the pleasantries, we sat listening to the tumble of clothes becoming clean. Both of our hearts were still beating.
I asked him how he was doing on such a beautiful day. He swept his long fingers over his face before he responded, “I am acceptable, and I’m alive.”
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