121 Readings

The Puppy and Kitten Channel

The Puppy and Kitten Channel


Remember the night I passed my test and the Thai

place where you took me brought my rice pressed

into the shape of a heart, a maraschino cherry

bleeding sweetly on the top? It’s an old story—

once there was an atom who wanted to be

a molecule. I’ve thought a lot about innocence

since then—the sleeping otters floating on their backs

in the aquarium pool, paws linked, the human

presence behind the animal videos on the Internet—

intimate laughter, murmured words in Russian

or Norwegian while puppies lick each other’s faces

or a baby deer eats from someone’s hand. I’ve watched

the puppy and kitten channel. At the Origami Club,

you can learn to make a whole paper world—

origami strawberry shortcake, origami waterbug,

origami chicken, hatching from an egg. Do you ever

feel completely ruined? The man with no arms

and no legs takes an egg into his mouth and drops it

into a bowl, takes a whisk into his mouth and scrambles,

takes the bowl into his mouth and wheels to the stove,

takes a spatula into his mouth and lifts the egg onto a plate,

bits of shell and all. Takes a fork into his mouth. Turns

and grins. Do you feel ruined now? Yes, still ruined,

and guilty. Click again, and a couple laughs gently

as a kitten and a bunny tumble across a flowered rug.

The otters float apart, then back together. The origami

bride smoothes a wrinkle in her immaculate dress.

Posted 03/16/16
Originally published in Gulf Coast, Volume 26, Issue 1.
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