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“Should I Let the Little Pachucos Swim in my Ocean?” by Helen Shanley

“Should I Let the Little Pachucos Swim in my Ocean?” by Helen Shanley

(the woman asked the famed psychiatrist)

The cat at night in Malibu
Makes a soft sound
As he moves along the ground,
Echoes the rumble, the growl and pound
Of the Cat to Cathay—

When the Moon ruffles his fur
In a silver streak down the dark,
She is stirring, subduing,
Stroking her Cat.
How he loves to spring forward, roll back!
How he scratches the rocks near the shore!
How he shakes small lives
With a glitter like knives!

The Moon has tamed and led him;
He glistens at her touch,
But if he followed you, lady,
You wouldn’t like it much.
It would hardly amuse or please you
When you told him to run away,
And, instead of tumbling in the sun
In a pussyfooting way,
He tore the rest of your beach out
And began to toss up your house—

And the Sea-Cat inside you listened
And stopped playing cat-and-mouse—
And it’s you lady,
And all the others
A-drowning in the sea—
Wouldn’t you call that
A great catastrophe?

But the Cat, lady,
The one out there that snarls and hisses,
Turns and turns in your veins,
Boils in your kettle,
Drips from your tap.
You think your conscience bothers you
With “Should I let them swim?”

Lady, the question is grim,
Facing us all.

Lady, better pet the kitty
When it comes near,
Keep the Cat purring,
And don’t admit your fear
Now or next year.

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