I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars. — Og Mandino

po_Mayes-Edward1Edward Kleinschmidt Mayes (January 4, 1933 – March 10, 2001) is an American poet and writer.

His books of poetry include First Language, To Remain, Magnetism, Works and Days, Speed of Life, and Bodysong. He received the Cecil Hemley Memorial Award and Gordon Barber Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry.


Edward K. Mayes

Cat stands at the fridge,
Cries loudly for milk.
But I’ve filled her bowl.
Wild cat, I say, Sister,
Look, you have milk.
I clink my fingernail
Against the rim. Milk.
With down and liver,
A word I know she hears.
Her sad miaow. She runs
To me. She dips
In her whiskers but
Doesn’t drink. As sometimes
I want the light on
When it is on. Or when
I saw the woman walking
toward my house and
I thought there’s Frances.
Then looked in the car mirror
To be sure. She stalks
The room. She wants. Milk
Beyond milk. World beyond
This one, she cries.


Edward K. Mayes

What a tongue
that comes out

your lips.
I would give
whatever you

want. I do speak
your languages:
tongue and groove,

apricot wainscoting,
butter and cream
on the kitchen table,

the one I want to
go under with you.
We will strip off

the tablecloth. We are
magicians. We make
things disappear, then

reappear, disappear, then
reappear, all night long.
But this tongue, love,

I have to have it.
To trace the map
of my body, the inroads,

rugged terrain, back
alleys, wilderness areas.
The tip of your tongue

is the tip of a
world. I want
to see it all.