He Foretells His Passing

F. D. Reeve

I can imagine, years from now, your coming back
to this high, old, white house. "Home" I shouldn't say
because we can't predict who'll live here with a different
     name.
How tall the birches will be then. Will you look up
from the road past the ash for light in the study windows
upstairs and down? Go climb the black maple as first
in new sneakers you walked forty feet in air
and saw the life to come. Don't forget the cats.

Because you grow away from a house, no matter how much you
     come back,
if the people you love are elsewhere, or if the reason is,
     say,
nostalgia, don't worry about small changes or lost names.
Sit down for a minute under the tallest birch. Look up
at the clouds reflected in the red barn's twisted window.
Lean on the wall. Hear our voices as at first
they shook the plaster, laughed, then burned in the dry air
like a wooden house. I imagine you won't forget the cats.

Permission from Other Press to reprint "He Foretells His Passing" from The Return of the Blue Cat copyright © 2005 by F. D. Reeve is gratefully acknowledged.

Permission from Other Press to reprint "He Foretells His Passing" from The Return of the Blue Cat copyright © 2005 by F. D. Reeve is gratefully acknowledged.

F. D. Reeve

by this poet

poem
He was urged to prepare for success: "You never can tell,
    he was told over and over; "others have made it;
    one dare not presume to predict. You never can tell.	

Who’s Who in America lists the order of cats
    in hunting, fishing, bird-watching, farming,
    domestic service--the dictionary order of