Iris Lee


Sometimes I wish to waft gently around
and sometimes I feel like darting rapidly about
and sometimes I want to be found
and sometimes I need to stay lost

             (The Heisenberg Game:
             someone you love gets sent to the hospital
             then to the nursing home
             then back to the hospital—
             find them)

You can’t always hide from yourself
even while
switching from wave to particle
and back again
as easily and swiftly
as a Super Hero

             You can lead
             me to water
             but you’ll never know
             how I got there


There are other cats around, many cats,
some six-toed, but it’s Henry
who sits with me in the dark garden
on the steps to my nun-like room. Bats
and night birds abound. I’ve left my dead
and missing in Manhattan’s bad weather.
All day today I walked and ate and cried
and shopped. I’m leaving tomorrow;
the plane will be cold and the child
in the next seat will be sick.

It’s next morning. I’m waiting for the cab,
lying on a chaise in the green garden
beside the unused pool filled with dead leaves.
Henry the cat jumps up, crawls on top of me,
splays his little body so our chests are pressed together.
I feel his heart against mine, tiny thumps of sound.
“Henry never does that,” says the guest house owner,
passing us, smiling.

Iris Lee’s book of poems, Urban Bird Life, was published in 2010 by NYQ Books. She has had work published in, among other venues, Epiphany, Marsh Hawk Review, and Passager. She leads a writing workshop for theater professionals at The Actors Studio in New York City, and has studied the theater/poetry connection at HB Studio, also in New York City. After a career in human services, she writes and does pro-bono editing. She is a life-long Brooklynite.