Black Cat

posted November 18, 2016


One of the cats visited my yard yesterday
The black one
My favorite
Of course I thought of witches.

I want the cat to visit everyday,
But cats can’t be summoned.

I am going to take a vacation from the opinions of men for awhile
Maybe for a few days
Maybe four years
I am tired of their apologies
I am tired of their reassurances that everything will be all right
They were wrong about the election
They have lost their power.
I am tired of hearing that she was a flawed candidate.
I will keep saying this,
Even when it interrupts the poem:
If majority had ruled,
She would have won.

Yesterday, as she spoke,
I saw the grandmother in her face
The softness of aging skin
The apples in her cheeks
Less makeup
More wrinkles
Laugh lines
Almost tears.
Completely herself.
Where was this woman two weeks ago?

Those who say this is not about sexism
Are missing many of their senses.

I found another aging woman.
I raged
I wept
Until the tears were done.

She said,
Our work remains the same;
It just matters more.

I came back to the world
There is a new normal coming
It hasn’t solidified yet
One where a white nationalist
Can air his point of view on NPR.
The interviewer did not hide her disgust
But there it was: his words laid out for all to see.

So I brought my child to her violin class
I closed my eyes and listened to the kids play Bach
I prayed. To the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
To the Mother, Daughter and Holy Sophia
It is the era of the witch
The era of the cat.
We must be stealthy
And true
We must be creative
And brave
We must not lose our heads.

What saved me
At the end of the day
Holding my child’s hand on the way home, under the waning supermoon
Was the smell of the fallen leaves
Rich, warm, earthy, decaying,
Still present.

Nerissa Nields

Nov. 18, 2016

This poem was written as part of 30 Poems in November, a benefit to raise money for Center for New Americans, a Western MA organization that provides welcoming services and literacy for recent immigrants. For more information, or to sponsor me, go here


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