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Stryge flew when the cathedral lit up 

electrical system flashing red at some unknown juncture 

five thousand miles later, she landed on my shoulder


All the days since, cancer’s voraciousness.

Two feline littermates taken at 15—one beloved, the other 

a difficult genius. Friends stricken, my father killed, my uncle 

ailing. I know Stryge is to blame. Anger. Terror.

Who’s next? I don’t want to know. I do want to know.

I try to stem the tide. Not this one. Not that one. Not me.

Please, I beg. Please, please, please. Leave the last cat for us, 

let him go some other way. Take a break, go to bed. 

Rip Van Winkle finally caught up on his sleep.


Stryge sits on my shoulder, looks out 

at my loved ones, my acquaintances—an attitude of remove.

Her wings folded, her cheeks held up by delicate hands. 

I hope one day to stop crying—find peace in the 

onslaught. Stryge watches my surroundings, head one head-length 

above mine. She is heavy and light like all the other-worldly.

My shoulder droops, then rights itself.

ANN TWEEDY's first full-length poetry book, The Body's Alphabet, was published by Headmistress Press in 2016. It was awarded a Bisexual Book Award in Poetry and was named as a Lambda Literary Award finalist and as a Golden Crown Literary Society Award finalist. She is also the author of three chapbooks—White Out (Green Fuse Press 2013), Beleaguered Oases (2nd ed. Seven Kitchens Press 2020), and A Registry of Survival (Last Word Press 2020). Additionally, she has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes and two Best of the Net Awards. Her poetry has been published in Rattle, Clackamas Literary Review, Berkeley Poetry Review, Literary Mama, Naugatuck River Review, and many other places.

Besides writing poetry and essays, Ann is a legal scholar writing on both tribal civil jurisdiction and bisexuality and the law. She currently serves as a Professor of Law at the University of South Dakota, where she focuses on Native American Law.

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