• Desiderium

    Matthew Olzmann

    Winter 2022

    From across this great distance,
    I’d like to give you: one cat.
    I don’t know much about cats but I like them
    from a theoretical standpoint. The idea of cats.
    The concept of cats. All that sleekness.
    The engine purring. The green eyes.
    Do cats have green eyes? Not a clue, but
    I like the possibility of a green-eyed cat
    tracking a mouse through the basement clutter
    the way a government satellite or malignant god
    watches its prey from above before pouncing.
    I’d like to give you one of those.
    Never mind that a cat is a cuddly apex predator
    who would devour us if only it had larger fangs
    and instead will satisfy that craving
    by clawing its frustration into your sofa.
    Relatedly, I’d love to give you one sofa. Mostly,
    because I like the word sofa. It’s a fantastic word,
    just like amethyst, hippopotamus, and paperclip.
    I’d like to give you those things as well, because
    giving is evidence of friendship
    and friendship is evidence of love.
    Like the moon is evidence of gravity.

    Matthew Olzmann is the author of Constellation Route as well as two previous collections of poetry: Mezzanines and Contradictions in the Design. He teaches at Dartmouth College and in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.

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