PoetrySummer 2018

Ike the Cat: A Mythography – Mike Dockins

He was born during Hurricane Ike, & this makes sense
because he was born inside Hurricane Ike, & the details
don’t matter except to say that they are a stringy tangle
of physics, meteorology, & nonsense—the chalkboard
of his birth a-scrawl with chalky equations: spirals,
isobars, & a tremendous unblinking eye, & Ike the storm
made landfall, as the eggheads like to say, in Texas,
but Ike the cat was not born in Texas—he was born
somewhere over the Gulf of Mexico—well, more likely
somewhere over the wide Atlantic (O Shenandoah,
the pipes the pipes are calling, etc.), & Ike the cat knew
that he wanted to be my boy, my pal, but he didn’t
know how to find me because, well, nobody does,
not even me, so after being weaned on Galveston BBQ,
Galveston jambalaya, & Galveston storm-wreckage,
at 6-to-8 weeks he journeyed on paws to the Nebraska
Panhandle in hopes that he would find my parents
there, which he did (& the barometers of Miracles
across the globe burst into a spray of mercury globules,
or whatever swims inside barometers), & this was way
back in 2008, when the kind folks of the Middle West
still left their milk bottles on the porch for the milkman,
& Ike (the cat, not the storm—the storm had by now
fizzled to a dismal little eddy in the plug-hole of some
poor Galveston slob’s bathtub) found that bottle of milk,
the bottle having tilted over from endless Panhandle
winds, & that one drop of milk lured my boy, my pal,
1,214 miles to that porch, & when my folks saw him curled
in a spiral, & when they swayed to the tiny black sonata
of his tiny black purring, they knew that he was Ike,
& they let him inside forever so that he could blow great
winds across the Great Plains, & toward me, wherever
I was (& I was indeed lost inside the great spiraling eye
of Wherever), & he’s my boy, my pal, because when
the scene shifts, the whole gang of us is clinking mimosas
in muggy Florida—no one knows how these things happen,
but it pleases Ike the cat because he’s back in Hurricane
Alley, & while I’m not with him right now, I’m breathing,
& every breath makes me think of a tiny black wind.


Author Bio: Mike Dockins was born in 1972 & grew up in Yonkers NY. He holds a B.S. from SUNY Brockport (1999), an MFA from UMASS Amherst (2002), & a PhD from Georgia State University (2010). His poems have appeared in Crazyhorse, The Gettysburg Review, Third Coast, Quarterly West, Salt Hill, Atlanta Review, Indiana Review, Gulf Coast, West Branch, & PANK, & they have been reprinted on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, & in the 2007 edition of The Best American Poetry. His critically-acclaimed first book, Slouching in the Path of a Comet (Sage Hill Press, 2007), after moving 850 copies, is currently anticipating a third print run with C&R Press. His second collection, Letter to So-and-So from Wherever, was a co-winner of the Maxine Kumin Award for Poetry, & was published in January 2015 by C&R Press. Mike is a singer-songwriter. Fame For Zoe, a full-length album from his acoustic-pop duo Clop, is available on iTunes, Spotify, & elsewhere. For the last 18 years, he has taught creative writing with Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth (CTY) summer program. After yo-yo-ing intolerably around the country for six years, he will be moving back to Atlanta GA in August 2018.

The author: Mike Robbins