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.
My meditative sit is spoiled by the incessant scolding of a squirrel, set off by a feral tabby. Now I know why Nanzen killed the cat.
A half-grown barn cat crawls out from under the house, gray and bedraggled as a clump of drier lint. One jay rasping at the top of a locust.
The black cat crouches at the edge of the meadow full of dame’s-rocket. What hides, squirmed into grassy burrows, under all that purple?
The feral cat is back from wherever it goes for the winter. It crouches on a fallen limb, eyes fixed on the weeds, gathered for the spring.