The rescued cat recalls the dreadful joke -
“Lost dog: one eye, three legs, answers to Lucky”
He’s deaf. His hair breaks loose in greasy clumps.
Four orange teeth hide in his rancid mouth.
His claws were misplaced several homes ago.
A foggy stare burns out of fused black orbs.
That he’s pathetic wouldn’t come to him:
He can’t afford the luxury of doubt.
How many homes were his, the rescued cat?
How many names? My husband calls him Peter,
Which suits, but it is not his own true name.
His secret name is Quisling, Dorian Grey.
Cranky but not noble, a survivor
Who will elude, and never, ever die.
He does not purr, but if he takes your lap
He’ll bless you with a squint that looks like peace.
From our tall patch of woods, hawks eye the yard
For moving snacks.
He plies the garden path,
But something in his creaking stride dissuades.
It is well known that prey should walk in fear,
But he has seen too much to fret mere death.
From time to time, alone, he wails aloud,
His cries all that his ruined head can hear.
He does not like us much at all, I know.
At certain moments he looks wise to me,
As he drinks deeply from his dish, then stares
As deeply into thin air, but the wisdom
In his mien is in my mind alone.
He is not grateful for this life we give him.
We’re his second, third or fourth redeemers
After all. It all comes down to food.
His only thought is, Feed me, feed me now.
please note--art by janetstevens.com
And, the poet this morning is my Auntie Lynn. She
can also be heard some days on WAMU 88.5 American University Radio