Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Literature

Monday, January 19, 2009

Natural Rhetoric

Natural Rhetoric

After the cat goes outside, two
perched crows open black beaks
wide to release loud sounds
suggesting outrage, warning,
threat--crow-rhetoric, mechanical,
never ornate. The cat looks up,
sees birds in feline-vision, and makes
cat-noises, nothing as loud or dire
as a warning, more of a refined
complaint, really--aristocratic.

After the cat runs and hides
in shrubbery, we make human
sounds, calling her "name," making
nonsense-noises, expressing
pretend-anger, muttering real
frustration. We're convincing
ourselves of something, not sure
what. The crows leave, the cat
reappears, we pick up the cat
and carry it into the house and talk
to each other about what just happened.

Copyright 2009 Hans Ostrom
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