Marge Piercy

Some things are naturally

vigorous. They encroach,

they ooze confidence. Some

beings act entitled. Wisteria

climbs all over every shrub

and tree it can reach.

It smothers. Yet I welcome

its twilight shade on a hot

tar afternoon to hide me

from the lava sun under

its arbor. The kitten arrived

yesterday at one p.m.

We sheltered it in a closed

room. No, he said, I want!

Three big cats surrounded

him. He charged. They fled.

Now he lies sprawled, a two

pound lion, contemplating

his kingdom. I like it here,

he says. I shall take over.

Confidence is a weapon.

A skinny girl on Detroit

streets, I learned a snarled

threat could bluff a fight.

But it only takes you so

far, can slide into danger.

I am the wary referee

in a whirlpool of cats.

Marge Piercy has published 17 books of poetry, including What Are Big Girls Made Of, Colors Passing Through Us, and most recently her 17th volume, The Crooked Inheritance, all from Knopf. She has written 17 novels, most recently Sex Wars, now in Harper Perennial paperback, as is her memoir, Sleeping With Cats. Last spring, Schocken published her book Pesach for the Rest of Us. Her work has been translated into 16 languages. Her CD Louder We Can't Hear You Yet contains her political and feminist poems. She had been an editor of Leapfrog Press for the past ten years until the press was sold this spring; she is the poetry editor of Lilith.

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