Arsenic Lobster poetry journal Issue Twenty-nine
Summer 2012
John Calavitta

I helped empty her condo out
           and was amazed at the things
she had stuffed into no longer walk-in closets:
           sugar and paraffin whisked,
coffee with crushed eggshells
           pebbles from a stream in Colorado.

I grew up on a farm and remember how angry my father was when one of our bulls would only mate with another bull. I guess I realized then that I wouldn’t bother telling him I was gay. We stopped feeding the cat Fancy Feast because he thought it was too feminine. Years ago I had a male dog who would regularly travel several miles to hook up with another particular male dog. Their relationship lasted for a long time. That dog’s owner chewed me out because I could not keep my wandering fellow at home. It has always surprised me how many people refuse to believe it when I tell them. I’m moved by the thought of two individuals getting together to negotiate the world.

We lived in Houston in the 80’s & always got tar on our feet on the beach in Galveston. Small spills were common back in those days. Twenty years ago the fish would jump out of the sea as you walked along the beaches. Frozen seafood doesn’t compare. Mom showed me a photo of a boat attempting to lasso the oil. To begin with cleaning birds from oil is a huge job. These creatures can’t speak English or sue in American courts. I haven’t returned since my father died two years ago. His homes are sold now.

Having lived in Switzerland for 2 years, my sister said that people used to yell at  
her when she left her dog tied outside a cafe while having coffee and a cup of  
soup (he was absolutely fine). It’s a small country where attention is paid to many  
details that may have gone lost elsewhere. She said because they felt guilty about  
the money they have been hiding, they are making up for it by being nice to  
animals. When they voted on free lawyers for animals, she said that the animals  
should pay at least something—dogs should pay in dead birds, whales in fish, or  
sturgeon with caviar.  

Mom was Canadian and she would apologize for “our” geese. Dad accidently killed one
with a golf ball and they all surrounded us
hissing angrily.

Australia recently destroyed a small number of Canada Geese that attempted to invade their shores. Our grandfathers exterminated the wolves, cougar
and other predators that kept their populations in check.

We should educate the animals to avoid human errors or we can educate humans to avoid animal errors. Everyone on board looks a little different at life
right now.
We will know the truth when we hear the cockpit voice tape.

Maybe the birds’ migratory paths are like a DNA of the way the species exist within the world. In the past week, I’ve seen lots of geese flying over and
flying high, due in part to the severe cold weather coming out of the

So far all we have seen is a single feather in
one engine

About John Calavitta

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