pets · Poetry

Underbrush

The orange cat strolls

Silent, deadly triumph grin

She saw the mouse first

The orange cat is a Maine coon cat that lives with my neighbors. Elegant, wily, and willful, she terrorizes mice, chipmunks, squirrels throughout the neighborhood.

I grew up with a succession of cats, one at a time living with my family. Each cat had his or her own distinctive personality and joys. The first cat taught me about purring, a little girl falling to sleep the first night with her beloved kitten making a strange rumbling sound that meant it was sick and was going to die. Another often stayed out all night and came home for breakfast, bandaging the wounds from a pleasurable evening out. Still another buoyed and encouraged me by sleeping in my lap as I rocketed through long nights of reading and typing papers for graduate school.

The orange cat and I share a mutual respect for and mistrust of one another. She is a beautiful beast, healthy and passionately devoted to her art of the kill — and appreciates my garden that lures small creatures to their doom. Mistrust erupts when I have to bribe my dog to come inside when he is hoarse from barking at her pleasure-filled taunts, especially when she interrupts her early morning hunts and I don’t want him to wake up the neighbors.

A dog is simple

Devotion, loyalty, joy

Wags eager to play

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