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Elizabeth Kuelbs lives at the edge of a Los Angeles canyon with her husband and three children. She writes for kids and teens around soccer momming, running a small real estate investment business, and saving unattended bagels from her goofy Bernese Mountain Dog.

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This poem comes from that wonderful, terrible infinity of possibility when you first start to write a story. It always turns my imagination into a herd of tempting cats. I want to chase them all, which makes it tough to find a true beginning!
Chasing Cats

A Poem

Dear Ms. Writer:

I notice
your words sit
so politely, one
leading to another
in logical and
luminous ways.

Have they been
to charm school? Boot
camp? Do you bribe them?
Could you suggest a
trick, or parenting

Mine, you see,
refuse to sit.
They much prefer
being cats
to ink.
It goes like this:

I write “One”.
He arches his new
jumpsuited spine,
salutes and parachutes
into a sudden
jungle-eaten city.

“fine”, languorous, licks
between her crimson claws,
then like black
hisses into

And “morning”, he
sprouts monarch
wings and flies
out the window in a
flurry of orange fur
and lemon glitter!

Herd them, you say?
Lure them back? How?
Tuna, yarn,
catnip, here-kitties,
cream and crooks all fail.
I chase; cats vanish!

Except “she”, this
ember-eyed kitten
my lonesome page.
Oh, Ms. Writer, tell me!
How can I make her stay?


Chasing Cats