Dirge Wailed Against the Music on the Car Radio
I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving cats in the loud car.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the hard case we go, the wise and the lovely. Barred
From pedals and traffic, I know; but I am not resigned.
Kneaders and prowlers, into the box with you.
Be one with the thrum, the car's jarring and thrust.
A fragment of what you chased, of what you chewed,
A scratchpad, a treat remains—but travel you must.
The pounces quick and keen, the blinking look, the purring, the love—
They are gone. They are gone into the carrier. Elegant and curled
Are the tails of the mice where I go. I know. But I do not approve.
More precious were the mice in this house than all the mice in that world.
Down, down, down into the darkness of the car
Clutching I go, the beautiful, the furry, the kind;
Yowling I go. She says I'm supposed to be brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.
by Elise Morse-Gagné
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Elise Morse-Gagné has been employed as a bakery salesperson, proofreader & copy editor, index-maker, translator, cobbler's assistant, researcher, lactation consultant, linguistics professor, and substitute teacher. She is a writer and photographer. She has lived in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Norway, Indiana, and Mississippi. She likes lists. She also likes old things: old books, old furniture, old pottery, and rocks. Even her cell phone dates back to 2012.
Elise is a widow with two grown children. In 2018 she moved from Mississippi back to Massachusetts. The three-day truck drive appalled her hitherto strictly non-automotive cat, who remains horrified by road trips (though nowadays sedation dials the volume down from 11 to 7 on a scale of 10). Elise, too, is vociferously unreconciled to the unacceptable. This particular list includes put-downs, consumerism, condescension, white-think, complacency, boxes, potassium sorbate in cider, professorial hazing, Nestlé, authoritarianism, error loops in online forms, the school-to-prison pipeline, grammar sneers, cliques, bombast, shut doors that ought to be open, and open doors that ought to be shut (closet doors: there be monsters). Honorable mention goes to fakery: fake wood, powdered creamer, fenugreek masquerading as maple, inaccurate Olde Englisshe, ignorance posturing as expertise in any field, and scams aimed at the vulnerable. Occasionally she lightens up enough to write a funny poem.