Cat Richardsin, Art by Vauney Strahn



I want to behave enviably at all hours of the day

especially while alone, doing only dainty things

and breeding jealousy. On the couch I have tea,
which I hate, but which makes you a woman.

Thankfully, buttered toast is also dainty, especially
with jam        with jam        with jam. Especially

with a record playing and alone. And that’s a thing
I’ve mastered: acting alone. Oh me oh me and sipping.
My arm my arm and greenery—the plants in the window
growing for the sake of it.

Have I done it yet, acted perfectly? And, now accomplished,
am I done forever, or must I repeat—side a side b and coffee,
side a side b and legs crossed.

To be pretty, one must have no money
but be always in a new dress. Have no money
but always drinking gin with lavender. It’s easy
until I catch my reflection.     It asks “wherefore?”
and drops a glass on the sidewalk. It says “I know you.”
and makes a rude gesture.