On my walk this evening, I spied a calico
and a grey tabby under shrubs, and two
tuxedo shorthairs under a parked truck.
Not one came near when I knelt
and sung a high-pitched herekittykittykitty—
discriminate beings, self-possessed.
Others roamed the yards, striking off
across grass or heading for a copse
of trees, tails high, small feet churning
peppermill-quick, their dusky coats
flowing like water poured on slate.
Now that the sun's trekking down
its slope toward winter solstice, this mild
September evening deepens quickly.
Screendoors have stopped opening so a cat
or two could curl out dreamily
around its lip. What light's left is lambent,
scattered, a dim stage for agile
acrobatics when a moth floats by. Soon
the brawls will start, explosive hisses,
screeches, squeals, then the caterwauling
that inaugurates night. I think of Bloom
cutting up liver for his puss’ms and blathering
on to it with affection—Joyce having
figured out displacement—the cat sated
in a way the man would never be.
The creature eats, washes, curls round then
sleeps, keeper of a guiltless nonchalance.