October 18, 2021

THE IDEA OF HENRY THE CAT IN KEY WEST

There are other cats around, many cats,
some six-toed, but it’s Henry
who sits with me in the dark garden
on the steps to my nun-like room. Bats
and night birds abound. I’ve left my dead
and missing in Manhattan’s bad weather.
All day today I walked and ate and cried
and shopped. I’m leaving tomorrow;
the plane will be cold and the child
in the next seat will be sick.

It’s next morning. I’m waiting for the cab,
lying on a chaise in the green garden
beside the unused pool filled with dead leaves.
Henry the cat jumps up, crawls on top of me,
splays his little body so our chests are pressed together.
I feel his heart against mine, tiny thumps of sound.
“Henry never does that,” says the guest house owner,
passing us, smiling.

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