Dreaming of Cats in the British Museum by Diana E. Hayes

Poem name: Dreaming of Cats in the British Museum Poet name: Diana Hayes Poem begins: I wake mid-dream on a bus in Bloomsbury in Great Russell Street  not knowing where I’ve been or where I’m headed.   I step out at the British Museum, beeline to the third floor and join the antiquities  Egypt behind glass, climb into the bronze mummy-case with the Cat of Abydos.  I dream deeper, board a solar barque berthed at the Port of Southampton  greeted by a clowder of feline passengers travelling to the afterlife.  The voyage arduous, I am green with the pitch and roll, a stowaway in mid-Atlantic   aimless and fixed on dead reckoning, twenty days at sea and not a single shore’s mirage.  I implore the ship’s falcon wise in his gilded cage, my breath locked in the underworld  eclipsed and languishing in a labyrinth of waves.   I trace celestial codes on a map while the falcon stretches wings preens in riddles, chants from the ancient book of spells and rites.  Anubis with his jackal head and pointed ears whispers me awake, patron god of lost and helpless souls, the weighing of the heart, a gilded ring in each ear.   I conjure Felis the brightest star with my dreamer’s eye and astrolabe  join the cats gathered in their Field of Reeds just as the museum doors unlock. End of poem. Credits and bio: Copyright © Diana Hayes Previously published in Calling to the Sun: Poems for Isabella Wang (above/ground press, 2022) and on SubjectivJournal.com: Visual and Literary Arts of the Pacific Northwest (2021). Diana Hayes was born in Toronto and has lived on both coasts of Canada.  She has six published books, most recently Gold in the Shadow: Twenty-Two Ghazals and a Cento for Phyllis Webb.  “Deeper Into the Forest”, a spoken word/music CD, was produced at Allowed Sound Studio in 2020.   Her poetry has been included in numerous anthologies, most recently, Love of the Salish Sea Islands, SweetWater: Poems for the Watersheds, and YCC-POP – Poetic Portraits of People.  She is currently publisher for Raven Chapbooks and has lived on Salt Spring Island since 1981.  www.dianahayes.ca