Awakened at first light by a whip-poor-will, I find my lost hat and sit outside watching a white cat hunt at the edge of the road.
Scattered snowflakes. On the back slope, a gray tabby cat is stalking voles, head swiveling to follow each ripple of wind in the grass.
Rusty things: the wail of a cat in heat, a squirrel’s slow scold, the cry of a jay, and the black cherry leaves fading to a coppery red.
A meadow vole takes an after-death journey into the forest in the jaws of a cat, who holds her head high for once and does not slink.
A catbird scolds a feral cat: harsh, descending Nos. Slick with dew, the lanceolate leaves of goldenrod shimmer in the sun like green fish.
Dead bracken leaf: a sun-bleached carcass. A feral cat pads down the road undetected by squirrels, its sodden gray coat the color of gravel.
Four gray squirrels interrupt their chasing to scold the feral cat—a Two Minutes’ Hate. In the corner of my eye, the zip of a winter wren.
On the flattened grass where snow has sat for months, the gray disk of an old hornet nest. The feral cat presses her belly fur to the earth.
Fine snow blurs the edges of the porch. The feral cat has walked in her own footsteps through the garden, a clear print in each old crater.
The first four peonies burst their buds in the night and open to a sky of hazy pink. From under the house, a cat’s hollow cough.