Kate Garrett

A Butterfly Pausing My mind is full; thoughts of how to empty it flutteraround on dusty wings. This morning my son watchedsquirrels, asked me why they easily fall in love,yet people find it so difficult. I couldn’t answer him.Now the sunlight pushes through late spring evening windowsforming halos around the heads of the chatteringsangha as the tang of rooibos cleanses my tongue. No caffeine, no sugar. No cigarettes. This is serious business. I slip out of my shoes, trek up the stone stepson newly tattooed feet, the fresh ink my dubious pledgeto an unknowable universe. My bow into the modesttemple is barely a nod, a nudge through the thin-scented smoke.I sit out the evening in a half-lotus, trying to forget my sore feet,and everyone sitting, measuring the absence of time in breaths.The squirrels try to come back; my butterfly mind won’t rest. I give up, and the wings slow down, but they never stop. The chime rings out, metallic and full, to bring the sangharound. If I open my eyes too quickly, the commotionwill fly into the open, through my mouth.I keep them closed a moment longer, then tidy away this quiet,one cushion, one blanket at a time,with careful steps. The backward process, replacing shoes,down the cold stairs, a man asks if I need a lift. I think of the squirrels, tell him thanks, but I’ll get the bus home. Zen Cat Little Zen cat says: Woof! and wants me to hand over the beads.Then she tries to tell me there are nobeads, and there is no cat, no me. So, she purrs, just hand over the beads.I protest. She smacks me with her paw, smiles,and curls her tabby tail around her white body. It occurs to me she is a feline incarnationof a great master. Though she’s forgottenher belief in not harming sentient beings, as the fly she took down in the kitchenwould confirm if it still lived. She’s beensent to teach me lessons that can’t be taught with words or thoughts. Zen cat taps her pawsacross my laptop keys, inserts numbersand symbols into my poetry. Helping, she chirps, to expand your little human mind.But above all, she wants the (non-existent) woodenbeads – all 109 of them, and their string – so she pushes her pink nose into my hand; nipsat the tassel, then bats at my toes. My eyes are closed,but she has work to do. I open them and scowl. Meow, little Zen cat chuckles, I was only joking. Kate Garrett is a thirtysomething poet living in Sheffield, UK. She is in her final year of the Creative Writing BA at Sheffield Hallam University. Kate has been published in Now Then, Ink (Hallam Creative Writing Magazine), and participates in various projects and collaborations. Her three cats and three children couldn't care any less about poetry, as long as she feeds them all.