Old Poem: Februaries

The cat in the old woman’s bag
is eating at the leather, but
the old woman is crawling on
her stockinged knees to find her
glasses once again. She is
not one for pretense and
so she tells the cat
she is better off without them,
for what good are glasses
if there is nothing worth the seeing?
The cat in the bag coughs up
a hair and the old woman pats
him on the head. She yawns
and pulls a metal tin from
the pocket of her overcoat,
and eats the almonds she keeps
inside. It is February and
in Februaries she eats seventeen
almonds in the afternoons to keep
the cold away. The tin is clean and
worth collecting, and she adds it
to her bag, beside a plastic
comb with old and stubborn
teeth, a tallish pile of wrappers and a
smallish tangerine, and a box
of rusted paperclips. And the
wind is something fierce
today: the old woman tells the
cat, God must be whistling mighty
fine, and she hums the same song
she has hummed for eighty years
and the song her father hummed.
She thinks, It is February and
in Februaries the time is short,
and Cat, you are a lucky fool,
she says, and pats him on the head.
A car passes by and does not notice
the sound of her voice, but the car
is in a hurry and the old woman
does not mind.