Sleepy Venus

A nor’easter and the rarest of moons,
Closest to Earth, not to be confused
With the blue-white sparkly goddess,
Brought me news from the police station:
An officer claimed my “son; he’s missing;”
I said I haven’t any children. “Not a son?”
He asked, and I verified the biological facts.
When I inquired, the cop on the line
Couldn’t offer any explanation.

I felt like Nancy Drew
With something eerie to solve
And possessing faultless tact.

The last time a sheriff called me,
Indeed there was a nor’easter, then
I’d been robbed—a long stupid story:
(By stupid, I mean self-incriminating)
An ex-fisherman from Kodiak Island
Who’d flexed his triceps on reality TV,
“Deadliest Catch”  (perhaps a red flag)
After hot chocolate, had fled my house
Taken cash from my bag, and in haste,
Forgotten his pants.

During the same storm, a lone bobcat
Stole along the snow-covered stone walls,
Criss-crossed directions, this way and that,
Leaving half-clues, barely tracks, but we saw
(The dog went bananas) the dark silhouette
Just the shade of him, a stealth criminal
At dusk, a moving jet black portrait.

My mother warned, “you have to think
About these things,” if the bobcat crept
To the door (!) she shrieked, clink-clinked
Ice in her glass. His climb to my front step,
A poorly-marked detour, a wily mistake.
But I wasn’t worried about the little beast.
(My orange alley cat is almost as great.)

I tromped on snowshoe to investigate,
But he was temperamental, a mystery.
He escaped behind a rumpled comforter
Upon a rounded, unmade bed, no duvet.
Watching the twenty-five pound cat
Slink unobtrusive, costume and all,
Proved I could be a good detective.

If only I unburdened myself
Of the slip-knotted curiosity
Sole daughter of a werewolf
Plunge plucky hands-on-hips, told
Unself-conscious stories, no fear
But dashed dreams of playing one
In a popular sci-fi series, a second
Opportunity. It had credentials.

“Scratch-that, my dear,”
she said. It’s too late.

Vicious-lipped, the storm whistled
A steaming kettle boiled and spittled.
I sipped warm tea, cinnamon and clove,
Picked up crumpled letters and listened
As the house shifted in the cold, unsettled
While sleepy Venus awakened an old love.

I looked up from my work, and the tick
Tack-boom of the glowing woodstove,
As frosted rhododendrons—their heads
Doubled in size from clumped snow,
Surprised, caught me unguarded,
A jolt to check seemed foolish
Their sneaky shadows,
Peeping tom-ish,
Slapped the pane
in the wind.

Leah C. Stetson   TP Donate