Nine Lives Divided by Two

I watch my cat try consciousness then conscience.
He discards the latter before it does him harm,
but he limps, less limbic than when our attendance
had been mandated by the witch’s charm.
The wizened wizard laughs at my alarm.
He and his malwife burnish brightwork plates
of steel they lay upon me, magic weights
that hold me fast. I am under their control.
‘We will weigh him, kill him, weigh while life abates,
and then know, by subtraction, what the soul

amounted to, how much it weighed in grams,’
his malwife cackles. I am sure they’re mad.
We had come here thinking we’d unmask their scams,
but their spells had lamed my cat, and now they had
me and my soul strapped to its launching pad.
My shambling cat comes nearer to me, purrs.
The witch proffers a mouse. The cat demurs
and his mind meets mine. He says, ‘Your soul’s a function
of their imagination, and of yours.
So do not worry. Don’t ask them for unction.’

‘All right,’ I say. ‘We’ve watched galaxies unfold.
The beauty of forever’s overrated
and youth is only valued by the old
because they’ve lost it somewhere while they waited.’
The cat pretends my soul is reinstated.
It swings a lightning paw. Claws kill the witch.
My weights take wing and the ignition switch
the wizard presses backfires. Blowback fries
him where he stands — or stood. We’ll go our way,
my cat and me, and live as if we’re rich.

Half-Hinged Fairytales – The Giantess and the Beanstalk (excerpt)

I think that serendipity
rewards no one resembling me.
The wench, whose overweening chest
gives umbrage everywhere it’s pressed,
advances to unjust desserts
adroitly flouncing in her skirts.

Me, the Huguenot, and Thou make three
united ungrammatically
and in our apprehension grave
that hopes we’ll not be made her slave.
The giantess, for such is she,
grunts, approaching, ‘Fum-fo-fi-fee’

the distaff version of the hum
her husband grumbles: ‘Fee-fi-fo-fum’.
Thou and me make haste to squat
behind the hapless Huguenot.
The giantess gives his head a squeeze
that sends his brainpan to his knees

which swell like they’ve contracted mumps.
I am less scared of Heffalumps.
Thou and me hide by a well.
We gather this may not end well.
We kick our wellies off and dive
in the dark and hope we’ll stay alive.