Cat’s-Eye

Michael Symmons Roberts

There was a scramble for mementos when the road
across the border was smashed up, and there was no
way in or out of this province of great lakes
and mountains. High on a terraced garden,
where potatoes and carrots have begun to replace blooms,
a broken cat’s-eye lies in its hand-sized
block of rusted iron, and blinks at the house lights
every night unseen. Close up, it’s like a toad
with ivory leather skin, run over countless times
but each time shrugging back into its shape,
with eyes in the back of its head, two deep sockets
facing either way and only one glass marble
left for each direction. Who will explain this
when the cars have been melted, when all roads
are rocky paths and scree slopes, when silent boats
cross lakes at night by moonlight only? Imagine
two old friends in darkness years from now,
snaking up the garden steps with an ancient
petrol lighter, to try to trick the cat’s-eye into waking.