Two Ghibli Poems

In my dreams Jiro Horikoshi did not make fighter planes

He only made paper planes 

bearing sappy sonnets 

that flew over to Naoko Satomi 

when she acquired tuberculosis

He did not just imagine meeting her again in the meadows

he stayed at bedside

folded origami delicately

as she heaved her last breath

He designed 3D planes

that magically transport bodies

to where the wind rises

as Naoko paints their pretty portraits

He did not just oppose futile wars in his diary

he made plane-shaped letters

mailed them to the Empire

with a HELL NO

People did not cheer for a film 

somewhat celebrating tools of annihilation

and I was not clapping with them 

before I knew it was based on a true story

In my dreams Jiro Horikoshi did not make fighter planes

that bombed Pearl Harbor

brought them soldiers to my home

and killed my people

My cat is not Baron Humbert von Gikkingen

We call him Cotton. 

Plump, fluffy, and white as Muta. 

He is a snob that hates cuddling. Gave me the dirty eye

whenever I lifted him in my arms. A cold grump like Muta.

He was friends with me

only when hungry. Still after feeding, he gobbled up an entire spread

the way Muta drowned himself in pink jello.

He avoided and pawed my other cats like he’s a king,

and they were servants. Quite condescending – just like Muta.

I gave Cotton away to a friend

and kept my brown tabby cat, Pogi. That’s Filipino for handsome, which he is.
Dapper and classy, like Baron Humbert von Gikkingen.

Pogi springs up to my legs even when not called. Bunts my face

and likes to snuggle in my arms like a fetus.

Cleans other cats at first meet. Purrs when feeding, grateful for every morsel. 

Smart and friendly – like Baron.

When I remember Cotton, Pogi is kneading my arms, 

his sharp claws sinking into my sore skin. I let him.

But I also think sometimes you just want a Muta

that doesn’t interrupt Zoom meetings. Or does not get colds 

because he can’t keep himself from friend-licking stray cats’ dripping noses.

A cat who won’t jump on your lap, paws wet, for a pat

while you’re sleeping and dreaming 

of a white cat that leaves you to it

when you want to be left alone.

Gretchen is a writer of poems and creative nonfiction. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Rappler, Philippines Free Press, Anti-Heroin Chic, Rejection Lit, The Alien Buddha, Maudlin House, Janus Literary, and elsewhere. She resides in the Philippines with her daughter, kooky cats, and dogs. Say hi on Twitter @gretchenfilart.

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