Muse #4: The Deer

Muse #4:  The Deer

Frannie Z


At the Game Farm,

a young deer

grabbed hold

of my mom’s skirt

and worried it

with her teeth,

thinking my mom

some large print-embossed



Forty years later,

after she died,

two male deer

crashed into our yard

in autumn rutting season.


Then, in May,

a fawn

tiptoed under

the neighbor’s hedge

and crossed

over a fallen tree.

She stood,


until we inched

the camera out.


Then she fled.



Muse #3: The Goats

Muse #3:  The Goats

Frannie Z


  1. Anak Kambing (Malaysia)


“Anak kambing”

(child of the goat):

tiny white goat

spun around

the kampong.

Until she stopped,

lifted her head

to my hand

and ranged between

my legs

scouting new smells.


  1. Karachi: Testing and Milk


My husband fought

the male goat,

trying his young muscles

as if he were wrestling

with stags

in the ancient rite.

He corralled the female

for milk

to give his cat.


  1. Becky’s Goat


They moved from Chicago

to rural Arizona.

Spring the goat

comes inside

when it’s hot.

She circles the rug

and teases the dog,

To her, a goat

with a growl.


  1. The Sacrifice

You are a bastard,

but I loved you

because you couldn’t watch

and kept inside

as their goat lives

ended under the knife.


You run to women,

butting them

with words

in four languages,

heating them

with your eyes.


Some day

you may meet one

who frolics,

then steals away

to sniff new grass.






Muse #2: The Cats

Muse #2:  The Cats

by Frannie Z


Their names: Angelface and Pierre.

I am not sure if I loved them

because I treasured their humans

or if I treasured the humans

because they belonged to the cats.


Angelface would front my legs boldly

then bounce into my lap

where he liked to stay.

Pierre would explore, then rub,

suggesting but not asking

for pats.


Petting, pats:

Pierre’s human made the verb

into a related noun.


“Wussy” is what his human

styled Angelface.

He wasn’t cowardly,

but didn’t trouble

neighboring cats,

preferring, instead, to claim

food and comfort

without competing.


It is the way they both moved-

not like tigers,

more like small trees,

playing out the small shivers

that moved their heads

like friends of light winds-

that fastened me

to their cat lives

and undid me

in their presence.

I could do no more

than watch, bring food

provide pats


and offer up human

nonsense words

which in some chemistry

of irony


into what we all navigated

in our disparate brain and sound systems


into love.


And, like Spock

in the episode

which found him climbing a tree

and touching the face

of a human who loved him,

I made the steps toward

translating, just for a moment,

the rush of pleasure

their presences gave,



to happy.



Muse #1: The Tiger

Muse #1:  The Tiger

Frannie Z


Sometimes he brings ecstasy:

his fur ripples when we touch,

and his eyes on fire flash,

but do not menace.


Sometimes he pounces,

and I must dodge his claws

and run.


Sometimes his feet

surf high ground

as if it’s water,

hills barely touched

by his flight.


Yet I, privileged to watch,

feel as if I’m borne away

by speed and time

and he, the one who bolts,

seems motionless,

fenced off by the thick grass

of a savannah.


Heads cocked and raised,

we both sniff hot, dry air,

our eyes leaping, questing