Stray Cats Sleeping on the Shore By Vanessa Gibson

Stray Cats Sleeping on the Shore

For Pablo Neruda

I forgot the obvious of compassion,
the I felt the way your pores sang.
If I had the chance to curse your toes
landlocked in concrete pouring lightly
on the sun, I’d kiss you, shelter you
from the cold latticed air, dance,
pour a bath, sink marigolds under.
If I keep coming here, I’ll soften.
If I lay here a little longer
a seed will plant itself somewhere
in me where the wind is never steady.
I open your doors for more breeze.
Like you, weather can be quite warm.
Like an iguana, you watch the weather
slink across the sky. Please,
if you’ll let me, the dirt road is long,
narrow, and ends before the drive.
Some poor hand the architect crafted
has cramped, and their drawings
have woven treacherously into the ground.
A fire built like the architect is nimble,
the light grip of a brushstroke
from where all space grows.

All space grows to be sacred,
desolate, the hill we drop
our leaves in, the world
count down from a million fingers.
How far we go depends on when we see
earth’s toes in sand—a high reef of glass,
la primera mother of light, where heat jumps
urgently from flesh. Two birds complete
one stone as if a ceiling and floor
of concrete is a city all its own.
Another way down is the world
in which we all grow old.
This heart, I settle finely
as a gulf of wind and oceans
that open unto sheds
and the only thing life has
is choice. If I am to remember
anything, let it be the vision of the sun
setting on the Aegean Sea, stray cats
sleeping on the rocks below.
If at times I say goodnight, know
that what I mean is good morning.
The day’s eyes never grow thin
and the earth’s weariness lies
only in our words.

By Vanessa Gibson


Vanessa Gibson is a 23-year-old recent college graduate who studied English and philosophy, with a concentration in writing and poetry. She considers poetry to be one of the most beautiful expressions of not only language, but of the mind, body, and soul. She believes that poetry can allow us to write from the subconscious, to break down barriers, and to share an intimate slice of human connection. Her work has not been previously published, but she is striving to change that.

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