Cat INGRID Leeches
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Premonitions of a Valley Girl
My daughter is missing a uvula.
Her cat speaks for her when she places her fingers lightly on the nape of his neck with a
somewhat threatening flourish. His mouth opens on cue:
it sounds like the groaning of an ancient house
I open the ground with a shovel
trying to dig up what I imagined
the last tenants left behind, buried,
too heavy to take with them.
With a simple heave, the shovel’s tip already imbedding in the flesh,
the whole top comes loose?
As if the topsoil was dead skin on my foot that I could peel back and reveal what was
but it’s still dead down there, not new and baby pink like I thought?
It goes thousands of miles deep but all still dead
I don’t have a daughter?
Many of my friends have daughters? Their lives crisscrossing in different directions from mine.
Some of them even have dead daughters?
My mother and me would take trips to the cemetery, bring a picnic basket
or more often a six pack of Sprite
an excuse for ritual.
Here are the laws of our rituals:
DO NOT STEP where a dead body could potentially be. For safe measure assume dead bodies
occupy a space that is at least three-and-a-half feet wide and seven feet in length starting at the
tomb stone. (Back then I thought only tall men are buried, but I have never unthought this
DO NOT THINK dirty thoughts while looking at the headstone, or even at the ground, or even
while thinking of the dead and what their life must have been like, and wondering if their wife
is still alive (and if she got remarried to their twin brother and how often do such things
happen?) It invites the dead into your dirty kind of dreaming.
Breathe softly. Do not breathe badly: yawning, sighing, groaning, and whining are all offenses in
this category. (My voice is a physical protuberance, a large elongated mole that starts at the
back of my throat and grows all the way out of my mouth?)
IT IS OKAY to make fun of garish headstones (i.e. big breasted angels weeping over the dead)
these individuals probably aren’t popular with the dead anyway. Even the dead have a social
hierarchy that must be respected- (rotting does not equal anarchy)?
What does it mean to be without a uvula? (Sometimes I think I have a daughter who is missing
What does it mean to talk through a cat?
Who opens his mouth
and everyone is instantly transported to an old and scary house?
The kind that in your childhood made you piss your pants
a little any time you looked at it?
I didn’t know girls had to change their jeans more often than men? An older boy told me, you
smell like cunt. I thought this meant I was fuckable and my skin glowed for days and days?
Does this mean my daughter is a haunted house?
Does this mean my daughter dreams of occupying a haunted house? Dreams in houses?
Dreams in age?
In either case, it is unnatural. No one would disagree with this sentiment.
I promise to bite off her hands after she is born. Baby hands look like bubblegum, soft and pre-
digested. Maybe if she has no hands you will refrain from killing her and me?
If dead children return, really I am alone. None of my friends will come out to play.
After my daughter died I was alone,
and my house was so silent?
It took me WEEKS to learn the sounds of this silence?
In the early morning hours
I first heard the house talking to me. Here is its language:
murmurations and groans. There are many types of groans.
My favorite was
the way the house shifted its weight from foot to foot.
I did not know I was living inside a living?
And even though my daughter was dead, the cat refused to leave. I bolted the front door, and
he moved through walls like they were nothing.
One night I opened his jaws and looked inside, searching for the cat’s uvula. His breath was a
sour ocean, the top of his soft palate rotting. He should go to a doctor, I thought? He will die
soon, I thought?
Inside his mouth there was so much I had not known about my daughter, so much I had not
known about myself?
My head fell into his, and his body into my body?
Will I be better in a different life? Will I be good and kind?
In another world I am sure, I am so sure of this, we all decided to remove our eyes? Spread
them on toast, or whatever food item you prefer, and eat them. And then for the rest of our
lives we told each other stories about these eyes?
YOU WON’T BELIEVE ME but mine were fantastic. Blue around the rim. Mine were so dark, they
looked like mud. And we talked and talked about those eyes and nothing else. Mine were just
okay, but in that world, I believed they were the jewels of angels?
I’ve never seen dark, or rather, I’ve never seen nothing?
When I turn out the lights my eyes play tricks on me.
Like me, I do not think they like the idea of being alone, of not existing.
Maybe this is how my daughter-not-daughter was born.
I lift the folds of my lover’s stomach,
(OH MY GOODNESS, Oh my goodness,
Oh my goodness).
I have never rated my lovers on a scale of 1 to 10, never articulated the level of attractiveness
of my lovers?
I have only been in awe of their form. It’s too many details to take in, to come up with some
sort of conclusion?But I am capable of revulsion. But maybe maybe maybe maybe that is only in rememory after
you have left me?
I see warnings, maybe?
Or are those premonitions on your body that you will hurt me?
Do you think if I had looked closer, somewhere on your body would be a warning:
my sperm will give you a daughter
missing a uvula,
who is really a haunted house.
Do you think there would be another warning?
You are gestating inside your own child, an inversion of telescoping generations—practically
And you will take her cat for a lover not sure if he was really the father,
or if you just fell into his mouth?
And if that was just an act of devotion,
or he really intended to eat you—daughter, old house, and all?
You have a sensation of falling
and at night you have trouble telling where your skin is, where your fingers are? Where your
feet and the earth differ? But you peeled it back, ruined it for all of us. And we are standing
thousands of feet beneath where we used to stand?