You sit, face to the glass, ears turned back, scowling,
an owl-like specter on the damp back porch.
I pat you dry with paper towels, lie stretched on the rug;
you put your icy pink pads on my cheek,
toes clenching my skin like anemones.
I wear an unhealed divot on the bridge of my nose
where you’ve kissed me each day with a nip.
I feed you sweet milk from my cereal spoon;
you bring me an almost-dead rat.
(I must bash in its skull with a big piece of board,
heave it into the woodpile and sob.)
I sleep in a cramped, coiled knot; you snore,
curl at my feet. I smile and tiptoe as you twitch.
I save your whiskers, the milky shells of your claws;
you squint at me, paws tucked under, mouth up-curling,
orange fur in a great nimbus, smugly recalling the rain.

© 1995, Susan Littlefield

Susan Littlefield has a BA in English from University of Washington. Her poetry has been published in Bellowing Ark.