Two Poems by Heather Sullivan

 

Threshold

Mom and I were on our knees,
bent over the tub,
washing the cats with a bitter smelling shampoo.
Our three indoor cats had fleas and
hell had no fury like my mother on a cleaning spree.
We stripped the beds,
mopped the floors,
vacuumed every rug.
All that remained was washing each cat and
taking a flea comb through their fur.

She had placed a small basin in the bottom of
the white claw foot bathtub,
One by one, each quarantined cat was dipped.
Our hands and forearms bore witness.
We were telling jokes and laughing uncontrollably
while the now scrawny, sopping cats turned
the bathroom into an
indoor slip ‘n slide.
She and I agreed at that moment that we were going crazy.

It made perfect sense to me,
pushed over the brink at fifteen by three wet cats.
But what it taught me was that the threshold is
really a moving target.

 

Aokigahara

The sea of trees beguiles you
deeper and deeper into the green,
bids you maneuver carefully over the moss,
ignore the abandoned tents,
unnecessary sleeping bags,
tells you to push through the
curtain of rope
you imagine being tossed,
stretched to test the
strength of the limb,
to find its maximum load.
No wind to caress your cheek,
the ribbon left as a guide way out,
stands still.
Stillness,
until you lob your own cable up and
over a thick branch,
coax the snare wide enough.

 

Heather Sullivan lives in Revere, MA with her family. She is a poet, wife and mother, but not necessarily in that order. These are her first published poems.