"Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese."
– G. K. Chesterton

Cat wants cheese. Tonight it's sliced provolone, though
she'll take anything: mozzarella – fresh or string – smoked
Gouda in a pouch, even Drunken Goat with its purple rind
like a bad memory, bruise-sweet, still tender. I wonder if

she misses it, rearing up on her hind feet like the tiniest
bear, resting her front paws on my sweatpants leg. Cat has
no delay between desire and request. Cat acts! Whether I
will relinquish the cheese, and how much, and how often,

seems of no concern. She opens her mouth and howls,
jonesing after a taste she might have given up waiting for
but now can't live without. Or maybe I'm wrong, and she's
been dreaming of cheese all day; maybe the way I unwrap

the package is torture, and she's trying so hard to be cool.
Girlfriend, her eyes say, I've been good. I deserve a treat. She's
my sole companion; of course I'll give her what she wants,
watch her devour it. This poem was never about cheese.



BETSY HOUSTEN is a double Sagittarius queer writer and massage therapist. Her work appears or is forthcoming at the Academy of American Poets, Bone & Ink Press, Cotton Xenomorph, Glassworks Magazine, Longleaf Review, Terse Journal and elsewhere. She lives in New Orleans, where she pursues her MFA in poetry and tweets @popcorngoblin.