Ophelia on the dash

I can’t see a Buick these days
without recalling crawling in
through the driver’s side window –

for nearly 8,000 miles
that rubber worshiped roads
with Ophelia on the dash,
the trucks blaring as we passed

she was more cause than cat,
and once walked the split-rail
on the edge of a canyon while
the khaki families stared

criss-crossing 17 states,
we were never lost together –
only ever found making a beeline
for the next rich horizon,

calling home all those roads
that everyone else forgot

© Sarah Whiteley

I’ve been longing for an old-fashioned road trip lately, and it seems like the bug doesn’t hit without also missing my partner in crime from all those years ago. Ophelia was a Maine Coon kitten pulled from a trash dumpster who would grow up seeing the country from the dash of my old Buick. I sat down the other day and tried to figure out just how many miles we’d seen together, and I can say I traveled with that cat for further than I have with any human.

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thinking of those days behind the wheel, cat stretched across the dash, exemption stretched out along straight, gray highways

trying now not to swallow that hook, though lately it seems the city hates me, shoves me toward her swilled-to-the-gill gutters

back then, there was the bag kept in the back and it didn’t matter that I had to crawl through the driver’s side window to get back behind the wheel

what mattered was the chance to get out of here, wherever “here” happened to be at that moment, and now it feels that “here” is now once more

and I miss that cat more than ever

© Sarah Whiteley

road-984118_640

the rabbits

rabbit watercolor sc

says an orange cat
one clear June day
the clover is sweet
do you want to play?

I do says a rabbit
me too! say two
but one little rabbit
from the burrow below
squeaks no!

why not? says the cat
twitching his tail
together we’ll go
where the crisp carrots grow

yes! says a rabbit
oh let’s! say two
but one little rabbit
from the burrow below
squeaks no!

you lie! says the rabbit
we’ll die if we go!
you’ll greet us with teeth
and eat us I know!

don’t go! chirp the sparrows
who agree from the trees
those sharp pointy teeth!
to him you’ll be meat
we know!

but says a rabbit
carrots! say two
we’re so very hungry
what harm could it do?

no harm purrs the cat
I’m no beast of that ilk
my round belly is full
with the farmer’s sweet milk
come go!

up goes a rabbit
close followed by two
at last! grins the cat
no carrots for you!

egad! cry the sparrows
as the cat shakes the brake
sweet tender rabbits
are much better than cake
oh no!

eep! says a rabbit
we’re done! say two
and from way down in the burrow
tucked safely below
one rabbit says
I told you so!

© Sarah Whiteley

Originally posted in 2010. Had a blast with the little rabbit watercolor and then remembered I’d written something about rabbits a few years back. Hopefully this little guy survived that nasty cat!