Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review

In the International Pavilion

Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review

In the International Pavilion

Article excerpt

In the International Pavilion, for carven cats there are three positions mainly: the sleeping round, the sphinx and the sitting upright Bast, protector of women. These cats are painted in African sunset colors, from bird pink to black, with russets, grapes, and tangerines. They look edgy, like the live exhibits. The Show is always edgy, its moon often a high cold full Easter moon. Some of the animals will die and be tasted and fear it. Some schoolchildren who bred them will vomit with pride.

Katharine and I avoid the live exhibits these days, even the pretty petting zoo. We buy a small pride of soapstone for her cat collection, two hippos for my soapstone hippos, too. These hippos are different: curled asleep like cats, not upright on four legs with flaring noses. When Katharine was a baby, I wrote a poem that cats have small dry noses and dogs large wet ones. Mysteriously, it was requested for an erotic international anthology and I agreed diplomatically. Katharine still finds that hilarious, but I suppose the anthologists could have been northern from some area of ice where noses chill easily and need a pridelike welcome. I try to photograph her with the new digital camera but it has too funhouse a dimension, distorts the nose too far before the face, which should suit the Show, but I abandon it for the mobile phone, which shows that moon of equinox behind her better, and her small fine straight nose with its slight nostril flare in proportion. …

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