AE Reiff

Elsie Marley, the Cat on Cuthbert's Head

Elsie Marley ate her fishbone on the runlet where Cuthbert sat.

He was the frog with eyes in search of a head. He could see the end from beginning but not the middle.

His faithy sycophants bobbed behind, Throng, Posh, Gibber, Gish and Log, the brown toad who would never be a truly green frog.

Cuthbert hung from a lillypad and fussed at Marley:

"I'm a grocer," he said, " a cross between a cat and a bear."

He must have had two heads because he had two hats, but claimed he had lost the other.

"Where's my head at, where's my head," he moaned in song at the buried sea and blinked his four eyes twice.

The sycophants chorused: "I can't say."

The brown toad said, "ENOUGH!"

THEN Elsie Marley, who had two eyes, but they were good because one could see at night and the other could see in day, looked down in the buried deep to find the precious thing. I mean the head.

Marley got her nose wet, jammed the pond window, saw history float, and if you think fresh fish don't need then go down that pond where the ripe and catty things orbit.

Down at the Pond

Boom! Boom!
The wish lamp was burning.
Pope Ili, Emperor of Kehar,
jewels, caskets, mining Boombays
under the waves.
Wake up, wake up!
Come out into the dusky desert.
See the moon chops are licking the waves.

Now we're undersea
Drams of knobby gits,
five more fish, bear toads,
and blue whiskered robins
with flippers ask for bugs.

Here floats Cuthbert's head
followed by fishnogs,
myloogie soups, liputs,
fish stints and cities of bean.

We look up at the water sky
and see the moons of Marley's eyes.
Behind her the sun and the bathy eight
planet sunsets of late earth
whiz around
for children to go up and down,

In the deep of air and sea
Elsie Marley cocked an eye,
head down and slow as each new day
as green pecans hold out, building nut,
or start a forgotten bulb and feel
like stretching up,
In that heat her kittens lay
and all the world feels by day
the fur, the peace, the warm,
snug place heads stay.

Elsie Marley popped a cork on TopSider Four. It had a blue frog on the mast. Beneath the frog was a quart of exquisite Nog traded at the Quick Think Market. Grring sounds bounced Marley high in air. She wanted to bounce buildings.
She leapt on the davenport. Dust motes flipped like fish. Out on the lake splashed bugs.

Marley dropped a paw into brineless doubt, got claws wet, but her tail shone. It waved like thunderheads in spring when winter warmed by shower pops out buds all over green to ripen into figs nobody could dream, rolling waves of clouds and tails and fish. That was her kitten wish.