Puss and Boots

Boots was an early pet name I had for Nasrin, who is a rabid felinophile and had been asking why there were no poems to her in my works. It took almost three years, since in the beginning of our marriage I had just returned to academia, which can easily kill poetry.  

In 1989, I went on a brief trip to Curaçao off the coast of Venezuela to research the beautiful  creole Papiamentu, the lingua franca there, though Dutch is official and often used.

Those were the old days of long distance telephone calls, and connections were occasionally dropped.

Nasrin’s message was a worrisome one. Once the link went dead I had no way to console her without bouncing my thoughts off the moon.


A cat allowed her table scraps
is how it has begun, this dim
Dutch I’ve heard for years
and now must learn.

Dishes fix the azimuth
of which one caught your words,
“Something’s wrong. I watch
myself as if I am not here”.

A dial tone replaced your voice,
the response I couldn’t find.
The clever kitty scoots away.
The waiter makes his rounds.

Harried, he  speaks in Dutch
I somehow understand.
He leaves. I try these sounds
to the lure the puddy back again.

“Dear Boots, now but the moon
can bounce my worry back to you.
We are both cats, must live
from paw to mouth like them.”