For My Cats Gaspara & Alfonsina

after Gaspara Stampa and Alfonsina Storni

get up, sister, when dawn
calls to daybreak 
               mother me dawn-like, 
entangled in daisy;  
mountain my mouth 
with mother-of-pearl;
touch the wet earth;
               have me lightly, 
and not lonely, in grape leaves;

       in that extreme hour 
(when God shall forgive you),
drink from stones of frost 
               and foam me 
               a trembling corolla;
now I must lie reclined
and speak with the birds;

sister my sinews,
bring me wineglasses of miracles;
                your haughty flesh 
like water,

your proud skeleton
calling all 
the vanished names of the wind

Copyright © 2023 by Michael Leong. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 2, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.