Tag Archives: Harlow S. Clark

Angel by Harlow S. Clark

Bastet Walters Art Museum

Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels
— Colossians 2:18

She thinks I am praying to her
Kneeling before her
Extending my hands to her

Her Egyptian ancestors earned their worship
Guarding food from mice, fighting cobras
Giving shape to perfume and ointment jars

Instead she beguiles her reward of me
Butting my hand with her head
Working her head under my palm
Waiting for my stroke along neck, back and tail
A nip on hand or arm if I don’t start over

When I stand she jumps off the bed
Sleeks the cat-lengths to the kitchen door
Leading me, pointing me, to her food
She does not worry that a full bowl may stale
She wants to see my hand go into the bag
To know there’s extra to cover the toy mice who live in her bowl

II

See thou do it not
–Revelation 22:9

“Angel’s gotten into a bag of feathers under the bed”
Soft as down, but not down
Scattered down the floor
Clumps of tortoise shell instead
Too late in the year to shed
No, she’s pulling hair from any place she can groom

No fleas in Utah, vet says, giving allergy shot
Clumps still scatter the floor
Cats can be OCD, Internet says, they don’t like change
She didn’t pull her hair for the rabbits
(Since killed by neighboring dogs)
Just snubbed Matthew for a time, times, half a time

A shot of progestrone helps OCD, vet says, but fur still downs the floor
Even “Listen Missy Moo, what do you think you’re doing?”
Doesn’t clean the floor
Her lower half shifts from tortoise shell to pink
When she sits her haunches, front legs holding her in a half stand
She looks less like Egyptian-mice-fattened Bastet
Than a scraggly, starving stray

Seeking my hand on her head
She looks more like one to pray for than to

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Harlow Clark lives and writes in Pleasant Grove, Utah, with his wife and son. In the year since Harlow wrote “Angel,” Matthew has transformed the play yard swing set and slide into a dog-proof rabbit cage and gotten two rabbits, who spent much of January and February in the downstairs bathtub after the weatherman advised bringing pets into the garage the family doesn’t have for the night. He is still cleaning the rabbit stains out of the tub. Matthew also has goldfish, bettas, assorted tropicals and 2 acquatic frogs swimming around the house. Angel stopped pulling out her hair for a time, but during the winter it has been appearing all over the house, though not as bad as before.

Beautification by Harlow S. Clark

“I’ve always pictured Cedar Hills as a daffodil city. They’re beautiful and the deer won’t eat them.”

“He’s laughing.”
“Sorry. It’s just such a good quote.”
“I’ll look for it in the paper.”

An hour later the reporter stops short of his car.
Behold
Three night-lit deer on the lawn,
Across the street three more in the retention basin.

Beautification eaters.
Beautification.
Deer, watchers,
What do they see?
Pasture? Food? Pests?

“Do you have deer in your yard?”
His mother will ask this – many times –
When she sees a deer
Or remembers the buck sitting under the swing set,
Rising in the shadow, walking into moonlight
Moving downhill into the garden.
“They don’t come down this far.
We live too far from the mountain,”
He always says.

Yet they do come down.
He pictures the deer he will see tomorrow
At the top of Lindon hill
As he pedals to work,
Sees the red patch scraped of fur.
Hide? Muscle? Jerky?

Instead he looks at the life before him
Prays them safe passage across the highway
Safe from himself, from other drivers,
Safe passage up the mountain,

And drives away from their green pastures.

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Harlow Clark lives works and writes in a subdivided orchard in Pleasant Grove, Utah where people plant fruit trees in memory of those the developer displaced, and deer don’t generally visit. He mostly writes a combination of Marxist literary criticism–“the spirit of Groucho is upon me”–and personal essay. He is a prolific stringer for local papers, 1500-2000 articles and photos published. “Beautification” grew out of a city council discussion he was covering.

*contest entry*