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If I Could Talk to My Pet . . .

The Flapper Press Poetry Café held its first poetry contest based on the theme "If I Could Talk to My Pet." We received many wonderful poems, but unfortunately, we could only award a handful of top prizes. However, it was such a strong, impressive offering that we have decided to publish all of the submissions!

Thank you to all the poets who participated. We look forward to seeing more of your work in our next contest. Keep writing poetry!



Will somebody tell the cat: husband and children first, even if it is starving hungry and convinced that it’s dying of thirst.

Will somebody tell the cat — no wish to cause offense but I don’t spend time digging flowerbeds just for its convenience.

Will somebody tell the cat, that’s my chair it’s keeping warm. I tried asking really nicely but oh what a look of scorn.

Will somebody tell the cat, its lives are now down to four., never mind, pick the flipping thing up

and take it back home. Next door.

— Carole Baldock


The photo of Dizzy does kind of sum up the problem, though she's not actually the cat that inspired the poem; it was written many years and several cats ago. But as they say, plus ça change...sauf les chats: they all have a lot in common.

Carole Baldock

Carole Baldock is proud owner of 3 children (all in good working order); 2 cats (need slight attention), a BA Hons and Orbis, International Literary Journal. Widely published, with enough poems over the years to fill a drawer, she has a pamphlet, BITCHING, to her name, as well as a collection, Give Me Where to Stand, published by Headland.


An Ode to Abbie the Labbie

When this pandemic is over,

You will be sad. You have truly been livin’ the dream:

Your “brothers” are in online school. You rotate your naps to coincide with where they are dialing in.

You were introduced to many classes And had to wear glasses and look intelligent in many photos.

The neighbors came by on daily walks. Each time you raced out our door to sit and receive your oversized dog bone.

There were some “escapes” during these dog bone treat breaks, Really, you’d call them just very small “mistakes,”

And overall you receive an “A” for speed.

The post men and women are always greeted with many chords of barking.

But they see your wagging and know it is all for show. One of the packages contained your dog treats. That package could not be beat! Unfortunately, one package was your unpopular Christmas dog sweater.

Your “dad” and I have started daily walks with you

And those have been soothing for all of us.

We all walk kind of slow. Hey, at least we are on the go! We are grateful you still are excited to spend time with us.

When this pandemic is over You may be glad. You will have many long, uninterrupted naps.

— Anne Rauth


Anne Rauth & Abbie

During the pandemic, Abbie has not had our house all to herself during the day. I wonder if she is happy about that or sad? With this poem, I wanted to capture some of the ways she has blessed us during these unprecedented times.

Anne Foley Rauth grew up in a small town in Northwest Missouri with a high school graduating class of only 44. After high school, Anne received her MBA from the University of Kansas and went to work at Hallmark Cards in their advertising and Hall of Fame Division. She also worked at other Fortune 500 companies such as H&R Block managing national promotions and sponsorships but ultimately followed her passion of helping others and currently works at a faith-based medical clinic focusing on the refugee population.

Anne Foley Rauth and her husband Scott have 3 boys, live in a house built in 1909, and have a dog named Abbie the Labbie. Anne belongs to the HACWN and has led sessions at their annual conference. She has also lectured at the Wordsower’s conference in Omaha, NE. Connect with her at



A Goddess Awakens

Devi muses, half asleep, about

bird flight and shadow dance,

restricts her comments on the ways

of humans to a wide meowing yawn.

Head a-loll, ears a-droop, she lazes in her favorite perch,

a porcelain throne, and gazes,

lidded-eyed into receding distances.

Outside, a chickadee flits by, disturbs the tranquil sway of leaves and branches,

interrupts the usual play of shadows

on the plain white bathroom wall.

Black pupils in a yellow matrix widen

and she leaps, all claws splayed,

lands on the wooden window frame

and hangs, nose and eyes a-twitch, mental pictures switched to muscle

action in a tail flick.

— Karin L. Frank


Devi means "goddess" in Hindi. She was given her name because she holds dominion over our manse. She has many thrones from which she rules: a bed of her own beside our lounge chairs in the living room, a pillow in front of the bay window in the dining room, a perch on the top shelf of a cat climber in the kitchen, and her favorite for times of quiet meditation, the inoperable urinal in the bathroom.

Karin L. Frank

Devi arrived one day accompanied by her traveling companion, a puppy who we later learned was an Anatolian Shepherd Dog. They had both been peremptorily dumped off by at the nearby crossroads—a favorite disposal spot for unwanted animals—and had been living wild until they found their way to the safety of our back porch.

Spike, the dog, now guards the neighbors cattle but eats and sleeps at our house. And Devi protects us from mice, which she no longer deigns to eat but drops proudly at our feet.

Karin L. Frank (@KLFrank1 and is an award-winning author who writes both poems and short stories. Although nurtured by the sciences and fantasies of both U. S. coasts, she eventually settled on a farm near Kansas City. Her work has been published in prestigious literary journals, genre magazines with international readerships, and anthologies in the United States and abroad.


My Kitten, So Adorable and Vivacious

Whenever I step out into the backyard or my habitual evening walks in the garden

can see his beady eyes popping swiftly

amidst the greenish leaves of a bush Or his big brown tail wagging quite hastily beneath the hedge

while getting his guts ready with his usual stalking postures to cling onto my leg

Then, he would rush to me

very fast, as if in a flash, and would gently bite my toes

So, I can feel the teasing touch

of his milky white teeth As I get my foot away, he would abruptly lay down on the path

with his furred limbs pointing upwards

while sweeping the sands with his

restless tail, almost like a fan

But all his valor falls apart at sudden unexpected encounters with the neighborhood dogs passing by

What a funny and laughable scene, to see his furry tail blooming into

goose bumps like a fire cracker

Oh, I love him so much, for all the lavish delight that he bestows me with My kitten, so adorable and vivacious.

— Indunil Madhusankha

(Previously published in the Volume 5, Issue 1 of Episteme Literary Journal & in the 2017 February Issue of Winamop)


This poem is about my first-ever cat, who brought a lot of happiness to my family. I do still really miss him at times.

Indunil Madhusankha

Indunil Madhusankha is originally from Sri Lanka and is presently living in Pullman, Washington, USA. He is currently a doctoral student and teaching assistant from the Department of Mathematics, Washington State University. Even though he is academically a mathematician, he also pursues a successful career in the field of English language and literature as a researcher, reviewer, poet, and content writer. Interestingly, Indunil’s works have been featured in many international anthologies, magazines, and journals.


Pablo Dog and I Recover from Surgery

As Pablo stretches, our bodies

adjust to absence. His stitches

pressed into mine, we bear up

to our crossing of wounds,

a slow seaming up. Glassy

new marbles in the sun

of Percocet, we study each other

a little sideways, loom in, out,

our pupils expanding f/stops.

We stare at the jeer of balloons

on strings that unravel from our mouths

like cobras, drift into drizzles of sleep,

wake to wrens, firecrackers, hail

smacking skylights, clattering down gutters.

Dreams hover like gnats treading air

over our squirming shadows.

We shift into painless gear, a snug slot

through wooze and blur. We lean

and sink like soft candles. Morning

drags in. The new gardenia

pushes its heavy scent upstairs.

Outside, the pink, hail-bombed primrose

are floating specks of light.

— Maryfrances Wagner


I wrote this poem after having major surgery and the day Pablo had surgery as well to remove a growth. My husband put him on the bed with me, and we recovered together. We both had pain medication that made us both sleepy and woozy.

Maryfrances Wagner’s newest books are The Silence of Red Glass and The Immigrants’ New Camera. She is co-editor of the I-70 Review and served as the 2020 Missouri Individual Artist of the Year. Her poems have appeared in many magazines, including in New Letters, Midwest Quarterly, Laurel Review, American Journal of Poetry, Voices in Italian Americana, and Unsettling America: An Anthology of Contemporary Multicultural Poetry.


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