Cat stands at the fridge,
Cries loudly for milk.
But I've filled her bowl.
Wild cat, I say, Sister,
Look, you have milk.
I clink my fingernail
Against the rim. Milk.
With down and liver,
A word I know she hears.
Her sad miaow. She runs
To me. She dips
In her whiskers but
Doesn't drink. As sometimes
I want the light on
When it is on. Or when
I saw the woman walking
toward my house and
I thought there's Frances.
Then looked in the car mirror
To be sure. She stalks
The room. She wants. Milk
Beyond milk. World beyond
This one, she cries.

—Frances Mayes

Rights & Access

from Ex Voto, 1995
Lost Roads Publishers, Little Rock, Ark.

Copyright 1995 by Frances Mayes.
All rights reserved.

Reprinted by permission of Lost Roads Publishers. Copyright 1995 by Frances Mayes. For further permissions information, contact

  • Frances Mayes

    Frances Mayes (1940- ) is the author of a number of novels, memoirs, cookbooks, travel books and poetry collections, including Under Magnolia: A Southern Memoir (Broadway Books, 2015).