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













About Eugene Jones Baldwin

I am a writer: non-fiction, fiction, journalism (Alton Telegraph), essays (The Genehouse Chronicles) and have a website: I've published a couple dozen short stories and had eleven plays produced. Current projects: "Brother of the Stones" (available on Kindle), a book of short stories; "The Faithful Husband of the Rain, short stories"; "A Black Soldier's Letters Home, WWII,;" "There is No Color in Justice," a commentary on racism; "Ratkillers," a new play. I am an avocational archaeologist and I take parts of my collection of several thousand Indian artifacts (personal finds) to schools, nature centers, libraries etc. and talk about the 20,000 year history of The First people in Illinois. (See link to website) I'm also a playwright (eleven plays produced), musician, historian (authority on the Underground Railroad in Illinois, the Tuskegee Airmen) and teacher.
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