Brushing my old lady cat

is a sensual thing,

she turns on her right side

switches to her left, electric

purring creeps up my arm,

tail tip whip-cracking

and I gather up fur detritus

into a ball on the oak floor,


Open the back-porch door,

cold fresh air knifing in

from the soaked timbers,

wind from the southeast

fogging the storm door,

and behind the porch rail

a carnival of chattery dyed birds


Ride the bare sticks of forsythia:

Carolina wrens and cardinals

saturated in ice droplets,

flailing spray from their wings,

and I toss the woven cat fur

on the dirt-streaked porch table,

and go back inside, towel off

and watch through the storm glass


As a song sparrow lands,

gathers the skein of fur in its beak

and white-streaked cheeks,

and wing-rises to the rafters,

stuffing the treasure into a crack

puffing its body ball-shaped

head upraised, belly vibrating,

and it sings madly, reedily,

a hymn to treasure:

St. Louis Post Dispatch:

Man bites dog/Feline donates to avian cause


If I confess to the daydreaming cat

I am a cold heart, a traitor,

if I confess to the bird

I am a vile feline enabler,

so, I confess to the iced naked trees

stripped of finery, all their vanity,

old ladies, winter-scoured of makeup,

somnolent, and not much caring

about irony













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