“Key West” by William Heath

A cat named Archibald
Macleish is asleep
in the master bedroom,
the headboard taken
from an ornate Spanish
gate. “He knows
the rules,” the girl says.
“No cats in the house,
but after his picture
was in our brochure he
won’t listen to reason.”

Pauline took down
the essential ceiling fans
and replaced them with
a cut-glass collection of
chandeliers, for which
the guides, every summer,
curse her memory.

“This house is the second
highest ground in Key West,” 
the guide says. “Sixteen feet
above sea level.” When I
laugh he looks at me,
asks, “Do you feel giddy?” 

William Heath was born in Youngstown, Ohio, on June 27th, 1942.  He attended Hiram College, where he majored in history, was president pro tem of the college senate, president of his fraternity, and captain and most valuable player of the soccer team, receiving eleven varsity letters in four different sports.  He has a M.A. and Ph.D. in American Studies from Case Western Reserve University; his dissertation was a critical study of American novelist John Hawkes.  He taught American literature and creative writing at Kenyon, Transylvania, Vassar, and the University of Seville, where he was a Fulbright professor for two years.  In 1981 he began teaching at Mount Saint Mary’s University and served as faculty advisor for the college’s award-winning magazine, Lighted Corner; in addition, he edited a national literary magazine, The Monocacy Valley Review, which also won awards for excellence.