Pandemic Poem #14

Since we have been sheltering-in-place and working from home, we have discovered that our usually serene rescue cat, Raven, has an extremely insistent, ear-piercing yowl which she has taken to employing at odd hours and while clawing at the base of closed doors. I had an elementary school teacher who had Siamese cats, and Raven sounds for all the world like they did when they chose to “talk.” My teacher found the sound endearing. I . . . well, this poem pretty much sums up how I feel about it, at least when there’s no escaping it in our tiny apartment!

(Reading tip: if you are reading this on your phone screen, turning the screen sideways will result in a correct placement of each line; otherwise, they are broken up in unusual and not especially poetic fashion.)


Lines for the Cat with the Emergent Identity Crisis

Raven, my darling, you are the delight of my soul;
and I can see how identity crisis might be a thing
for a cat named for a bird; but please recall, you are
a black domestic shorthair cat, and if you do not stop
that incessant, Siamese-style yowling you’ve taken up
since Covid-19 sent us working from home
(and thus, ever present, apparently at your beck and call)
yodeling at the top of your lungs like a blue point
every time I close a door for a moment to myself
(and especially between four and five a.m.)
I swear, I am buying that corgi
Fallon’s been begging for.


(Originally written 4/3/2020)


I invite those who are also writing creatively in response to the pandemic to share their words in the comments below. I am sharing the “poem-a-day” on Instagram and Twitter, as well; follow me @mridleyelmes !


About Melissa Ridley Elmes

Professor and writer; Unrepentant nerd; chaotic good. Author of Arthurian Things: A Collection of Poems. PhD, MFA. She/hers. Views my own.
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2 Responses to Pandemic Poem #14

  1. Haha! Corgis can be pretty mouthy, too (;

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