. A Petless State after Katherine Philips' A Married State, 1664 A house with pets affords but little grace. The best of dogs or cats destroy the place. Note when you visit friends you can detect foul odors, hairballs, housekeeping neglect. A petless state insures all’s calm and clean. It’s chapel-quiet, well-ordered, serene. No barking dogs to urinate and gnaw. No snarling cats to pounce and bare sharp claws. Few extra chores to waste your hours and days, you may relax and dream, perchance to play. Be gracious, say: How cute! But think: en garde! Ignore, disdain the popular canard--- that you are most peculiar, heartless, cruel, if you eschew cat-hair and doggie drool. . . Shush! I need silence. My poor nerves---alack! are frazzled by continual random sound: in stores, in gyms, in places all around, dim-witted pop tunes pipe through every crack. I’m unsure why society's on this track, insipid songs unending as background, set at full volume, ruthlessly to pound our minds to mush, then harden them to plaque. There is a magic made by quietude. The only way I can compose a sonnet is to heed the tranquil, artful voice suggesting rhymes in a noiseless interlude. In this hushed room I don my poet’s bonnet: rare words make metric music. I rejoice! . . Mary Jane Myers resides in Springfield, Illinois. She is a retired JD/CPA tax specialist. Her debut short story collection Curious Affairs was published by Paul Dry Books in 2018.