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This poem commemorates
the obscure child book character
Cathy Caffeine--

the tug boat that volunteered
to tow a skyscraper over the oceans
from Shanghai to Manhattan--
a proud prow willing to drink
galleons and galleons of coffee
in a valiant effort to keep
her steam pressure up.

No one ever noticed her--
despite the sun flag on her mast,
despite a heart
she had enlarged
so as to pump squall waters
from the furnace room.

No one ever heard her engine groan--
they only saw the skyscraper
sliding smoothly through seas
that bucked and brayed--

the edifice gliding
as if guided by a god--

but since no god
ever appeared before them,
people came to believe
the skyscraper might be
a god itself.

From such mass opinion,
Cathy Caffeine concluded
she had done
nothing of consequence--

despite the pain
in her main beam,
a pain that ran
from stern to bow--

she still believes she followed
a monumental monument
even though
that momentary monument
always shadowed her.

The Cathy of this child book story...

can be found all over the world--
canít we see them?--look:
how the churn
of their propellers
gives the planet
its spin.

© 2007 Michael R. Patton      go back

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