Two Poems by Jack Powers

A Little Red

Aunt Pauline started painting in her sixties
little watercolors of beach scenes and roses
matted and framed on her kitchen walls.
Her football-coach husband seemed mystified
at her sudden secret life. Each Tuesday
she packed her paints and set off for class
with 80-something, Mitch Kells, the watercolor king
of Englewood, New Jersey. Put a little red,
he’d say, in each painting, and she’d comply.
Each week a new picture was framed and hung
soon covering the dining room, the living room,
even the basement man cave – a little red in each.

At Mitch’s funeral, she put a red ribbon in his casket.
She’s an artist, her husband said. I never knew.

Rejoice in the Cat

Writing about cats will cast me as crazy.
Smart’s paean to God and Jeoffry was a prayer
penned in an asylum cell. All the women
I know say they fear becoming cat ladies. And
Broadway aside (or is it proof?) Eliot’s cat
fetish is a cat box mystery to me. Still,

consider my cat George, every-day named,
servant to no one, sixteen, who shares my birthday,
thinning ragamuffin, begging to be lifted to his bowl.
Now sitting before me on the table licking white paws
then waiting for my scratch under his jaw, his chin,
settling into a soft purr, haunched, fur a little ragged.

He steps back, kneads, licks a paw absently.
I smile, reminded, it’s not just about me.


Jack Powers is the author of Everybody’s Vaguely Familiar. His poems have appeared in The Southern Review, The Cortland Review, Poet Lore and elsewhere. He recently retired after teaching special education for 38 years. Visit his website:

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