Clarinda Harriss

In My Basement Are Many Galoshes

If it were not so, my clever terrier would go
digging for other treasure. But here come gray
and moldy boots for our walks on sloppy days.
I shove my feet through the cobwebs. Kilo,
thank you for these, also for sniffing out the blazer
I’d thought lost to the trunk of teenage finery
dating back fifty-sixty years or so.

Kilo finds me delicious. How many an old bel-
dam can say a fellow creature thinks her smell
is wonderful? I could almost love myself
as I did at sixteen, wearing a new dress or just
my skin, before the years of rot and must.
I love what I know better than to trust.

My Cat Had None of My Bad Habits

Ms. Katz, nee Cookie, never

–chewed up books the way I did at
age five

–let herself get picked up by somebody

–lost her dignity by trying to be

— thought she could tell
a joke

–made a big deal about


Clarinda Harriss is a professor emerita of English at Towson University. She edits and directs BrickHouse Books, Inc., Maryland’s oldest literary press. Among the more recent of her books are DIRTY BLUE VOICE, MORTAIN, and THE WHITE RAIL. A collection of poems based on her years as an Alzheimer’s caregiver, INNUMERABLE MOONS, is at press.

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