My Cat

by Nancy Byrne Iannucci (November 2023)

Le poète, Marc Chagall, 1949–50


My Cat

The moon is out—
my cat calls me to bed,
even though he’s hiding under it.
I try to put pen to paper,
but I’m distracted,
by this holy junk of a world.
My cat was anxious,
but the storm’s over now,
his ginger warmth climbs up
like the morning sun to face this place all over again,
with a curl of his tail, a purr,
and a lick, he’s quick to forget
the junk of this world.
Oh, to be my cat:
I could forget I miss you,
forget the Left and the Right,
Russia and Ukraine,
the elections,
the strikes,
the changing climate,
the broke and the woke.
I could be a fraud of confidence and certainty
in this holy junk of a world.


My Other Cat

My other cat is Emily Dickinson.
she should have been named Lavinia,
after the Poet’s sister, who was a true cat person.
I don’t think the Poet liked cats. she had a dog,
a Newfoundland, Carlo, named after St. John’s dog,
a character in Jane Eyre. I think this explains Emily’s otherworldliness,
her unease, and relentless meowing. Her needs are as tiring as the Poet’s hands,
clawing inside of her dainty gray cage like a parasite.
If I could change her name, it’ll set them both free,
and so will the poems inside of me.


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Nancy Byrne Iannucci is a poet from Long Island, New York who currently lives in Troy, NY with her two cats: Nash and Emily Dickinson.  Her work has been featured in San Pedro River Review, 34 Orchard, Defenestration, Hobo Camp Review, Bending Genres, The Mantle, Typehouse Literary Magazine, and Glass: a Poetry Journal. She is also the author of three chapbooks, Temptation of Wood (Nixes Mate Review, 2018), Goblin Fruit (Impspired, 2021), and Primitive Prayer (Plan B Press, fall 2022). Visit her at  and Instagram: @nancybyrneiannucci.

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