Joe Dolce: ‘Frozen Kittens’ and ‘Goanna’

Frozen Kittens

They’re not staying in the house!
My mother, fearful of ammonia
urine-sprayed carpets of spinster aunts,
so three Twiggy-eyed kittens,
go out into the pink garage.
My carpenter dad builds a wooden hut
with a hole-door, opening onto
a papered half-cardboard box.
I feed them milk, table scraps,
mashed spaghetti, canned fishy catfood.

That weekend, four feet of snow forces
my father awake to light the coal,
at dawn, shoveling a white corridor
to the pink garage.

I carry my morning saucer of warm milk,
push my hand into the dark cathole,
feeling the cold hard things.
I pull my fingers back, as though frostbit,
without looking, turn,
hurry back through the snow tunnel,
to the warm kitchen,
again uncertain of the universe,
praying for school.

Joe Dolce


In black-green prehistoric
lizard-skin glove,
bent at wrist, with tight
symmetrical rows of circular black bumps,
interrupted by a Morse of white speckles,
like a primeval rag rug, five toes,
of four and five joints, connect
to each other, irregularly, at odd angles,
each appendage capped by hardened hooked nail,
capable of shredding trees
or eviscerating a stomach.

Extra-terrestrial, alien,
from the mind of a Harryhausen or Giger,
the first toe is straight, as though admonishing,
the others curving into a claw,
ready to administer natural justice.
Part charm, part amulet,
indigenous juju foot.

Joe Dolce





Leave a Reply