When the nice young lady down the hall
In this apartment house agreed to cut
My sweet cat’s claws, she did it very well,
Said she enjoyed doing it, would take no money,
And continued doing so for several months;
She had cats herself, was calm and confident.
Then the clipping stopped, no reason given,

Yet the peacock feather for cat-and-human games
That she gave, suggesting I use it with him:
A wand with gold-brown segments waving
From a pea-green center spine, remains.
(I tried, but could not entice my pet into that foolishness.)
Now, stuck into the vase of Granny Smith apple green
On the bathroom counter below the mirror

I look into when I shave in the morning, its tip
Reaches out as if to greet me. Slender fronds
Like a large moth’s long antennae
Guard the center mystery, an almost black eye
Which a green, purple, and blue rainbow
Festoons. Green-gold threads,
Guarding, encircle it, and

I find myself remembering from childhood
Peacocks promenading on zoo ground past open-mouthed youngsters,
Rustling lowered trains, then cranking up and opening
Layer upon layer into delicate displayed fans. Lucky child
Was I, to see also a white peacock step forward to display,
As though desiring me particularly to see it,
The perky feather coronet adorning its small head.

Jonathan Bracker’s poems appear in The New Yorker, Poetry Northwest, other periodicals; and in seven collections including Concerning Poetry: Poems About Poetry. He is the editor of Bright Cages: The Selected Poems Of Christopher Morley; co-author with Mark Wallach of Christopher Morley; and editor of A Little Patch Of Shepherd’s-Thyme: Prose Passages of Thomas Hardy Arranged As Verse.