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"Mimesis" by Luanne Castle

after Remedios Varo’s painting Mimesis

I have become the focus of my tabby cat, Mimesis. She will ignore flies and mice, but rather than being lazy, she is watchful, always napping or hiding near me, as if she can sense clandestine movement and the appalling trajectory of my life. Much like Mimesis, I’ve never been an active person. I like my favorite chair, this week’s sewing next to me, an occasional cup of linden tea, perhaps with a pinch of rose hips. I do sweep and dust, but only when I can’t coax a girl from the village to do it for a coin. I’m also careful, never walking under ladders or putting shoes on the table. I’ve never dropped my scissors. If necessary, I will knock on wood prophylactically. But last time I did that, Mimesis began her surveillance. A girl I had out to clean set my calfskin pumps on a table to sweep underneath. My heart tripped over itself in its haste. I screamed. They will bring bad luck! Take them off the table! Which she did immediately. Then I knocked on both wooden arms of my chair. Imagine my surprise when they knocked back.

Shortly after that event, I noticed that the limbs of furniture seemed sympathetic to my emotions. Mimesis became my mirror reflection, eyeing me always, perhaps afraid to let me out of her sight. This morning, I tried to get out of my chair to put the kettle on and discovered that my legs were wooden, and I could not rise. My hands had become one with the chair. I recognized the fear in Mimesis’ eyes. I urged her to move, no, to run away. But her fur had already begun to seep into the floor’s wood grain.

Luanne Castle’s award-winning poetry collections are Rooted and Winged and Doll God. Her chapbooks are Our Wolves and Kin Types, a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award. Luanne’s Pushcart and Best of the Net-nominated poetry and prose have appeared in Copper Nickel, Bending Genres, River Teeth, The Ekphrastic Review, and other journals.


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