Janet Bowdan

Groundbreaking Cat Science Shows They Love to Sit in Illusory Boxes


Aunt Ruth is perplexed
we hear in the latest update from Manchester
though she can get up and dress herself

she is rather fed up with being shut in
and as she is unstable
in the sense of wobbly
the carers don’t want to take her out

You are wondering what happened to the cats.

If you draw brackets,
the corners on the floor,
and wait, chances are good that when the cat wanders past,
it will sit inside those brackets

even if there are no connecting lines.

You are wondering how Aunt Ruth is
and whether the bills all over are paid or unpaid.

Any other year we could just get on a plane
and find out

You know those illusory boxes cats will sit in?
We also thought we were inside those
until we stepped into a real box
until we closed it.


Janet Bowdan‘s poems have appeared in APR, Tahoma Literary Review, The Rewilding Anthology, Sequestrum and elsewhere. The editor of Common Ground Review, she teaches at Western New England University and lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, with her husband, their son, a cat who sits in boxes, and a book-nibbling chinchilla.