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This poem is taken from PN Review 152, Volume 29 Number 6, July - August 2003.

Four Poems Stephen Burt

Cleo

Nights I feel safe in your house. When the bit of thin air
The television leaves us threatens to cross
My path, and the nimble grey mate with whom I share
A food supply and a pillar of rattan and dross
Chases me out of my corner, I announce
My presence on or near your sleeping head:
I am the self-propelled, soft eminence
You knew before that strange and easily-led
Man came to share you with me. I have known the black cloud
Of which you have lately complained, being myself
A short black cloud, and though I can neither pounce
On evanescent dejection, nor bury a rough
Insistent memory, I do announce
Some hope in my fur-lined fur undercoat's silver
Lining. I can lie flat
Like a seal, or curl up like a bear; a sudden, severe
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