Six Poems
Kate Schapira

The Saint of Dogs

I wonder how many Poor-and-Raggies that we see are People in Disguise. Pat likes to have a famous underdog to root for. Pour the fat off, set out the "bitch" mug. Be kind, not because the weak could be strong, but because the strong, like boys, are secretly tender, popping cartoon eyes like idols: "Oh, Brendan, if someone calls you a bitch they're just calling you a dog." Not knowing what to say, the long-haired dachsund took its struggling voice out of circulation years ago. The boy who asked questions on Friday was leashed on Saturday.

The Saint of Bears

He doesn't care much for lazy people, or spineless ones. The battering the field takes and the tights the boys wear out of dedication. The stadium's shoulders have swollen, under hats and jackets boys burst with pride, touch other boys. Two screens at once hear bones crack. The mouth stuffed with protective plastic splits hard. Faces of people boys can feel draw close.

The Saint of Mice (II)

And animals' souls don't go on living after their bodies are dead like ours do, and so we ought to be Extra Nice to them because they haven't got very much time. The mouse froze to death -- or maybe the trap actually did it but it took him a while to die, not running from the descending box and scooping cookbook. "He stayed still for his picture," James said after we threw cookbook, box, mouse and all into a construction dumpster in the electric park; knowing an action of mine had killed him led to thoughts of other battles.

The Saint of Patience

sits quietly beside boys and speaks their language. Prowling the minute halls of small muscle control and tremor, turmoil, this saint makes himself still. His eyes are always painted ahead and a trifle down, to make room. He expects without assuming and his cries of martyrdom sound like electronic burbles, so familiar that at last, boys raise their heads. "It would have Jumped by now," said the King, and he walked into the Cave.

Foundlings II

Cognizance of virtue makes a hole in the paper top of a spool. Soon, many holes.

Virtue has many names. Which do you want to know, clothe, or warm.

Grim face, smug face, assumptive face.

Fear of letting something happen in the story.

Virtue sets teeth against, sets teeth in the sleeve, the sleeve needs mending with the former knee-downs of pants, now shorts, and gets it.

Letting, rather than making, something happen.

Pig-faced, dripping.

As virtue, the poor relation flags, the mending pile gains. Keep yourself busy, brat, you're here for nothing.

Red-knuckled and all thumbed.

Make yourself useful. Justify presence with the shrinking and growth of different accumulations.

One by one garments return to use.

The yo-yo emperor

Look at what you're doing while
the world is still working -- come

down from the ozone layer (leaving
behind a trusted individual)

a simple improvement to the axle and
the business practically runs itself, sleeps

spinning counter to what anyone expected
you travel around

the world the rest of the time
tying your knots like a star

-- flame finish round brown counterweight
dense knot of matter rotating

cast-iron pan of eggs and rust
on the counter, the eye that folds, fits, matches

knows its time -- kingdom of newness
free from dissolution

for something to be discovered
it must already be there.