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The Housewarming Gift, 1965
Susan Rooke

Once we’d settled in next door,
our South Korean neighbors gave us
koi. Three sleek and splendid fish
for luck, one black, two calico in color.
Plump, each a pound or so. A kind, yet
mystifying gesture, as our neighbors
knew the population of our household.
Their care bestowed to me, the koi 
and fish tank were set up in my room.
Next morning I awoke, breaching
the surface of a strangely deep,
chaotic sleep. There were koi bones
drying on my sheets, koi scales sticky
in my hair, and at my feet in bed, our three
sleek and splendid cats, one black,
two calico in color. Plump, each heavier 
by a pound or so. Licking lovingly 
between their toes they purred, faces
clean, their whiskers framing coy smiles.
© by Susan Rooke.
Used with the author’s permission.

Susan Rooke lives in Austin, Texas.  Despite her normal façade, she's always been interested in the mysterious and odd, and has completed the first novel of a fantasy series. Her work has appeared recently or is forthcoming in The Texas Poetry Calendar 2013, Pulse: voices from the heart of medicine, San Pedro River Review, and on Austin Capital Metro buses.  She and her husband of almost 30 years (who indulges her interests without subscribing to them himself), spend as much time in the mountains of West Texas as possible.

Post New Comment:
Hilarious, definitely. And I didn't see it coming!
Posted 05/17/2013 09:36 AM
Yick. The bones were actually gifts to you I think, just as the neighbor's gifts worked over.
Posted 05/17/2013 09:10 AM
Lucky cats!!
Posted 05/17/2013 08:57 AM
"...breaching the surface of a strangely deep, chaotic sleep..." but I'm wondering if it was all a dream...
Posted 05/17/2013 08:20 AM
I love it! The last line is marvelous!
Posted 05/17/2013 08:18 AM

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