the gray striped cat peers with fearless intent
through the closed patio door, then sniffs
along the bottom rail as if to determine
the nature and provence of the inhabitants.
Our eyes meet, instantly fasten on each other’s soul,
then jostle for a handhold. He is young and lean,
fueled by curiosity, humming with the electricity of life,
experienced in the ways of streets and alleys.
I hurry to the kitchen and heap a cup of dry cat food
onto a paper plate. I open the patio door
and he backs away; over his silver stripe shoulder,
his eyes lock on mine. In a swift leap, he is through the rails
of the patio fencing and into the parking lot.
“Kitty, kitty.” I call him by his family name as he retreats.
I place the plate of food on the damp gray cement and withdraw.
Behind the blinds of the patio door, I watch as he weaves
in and out of the parked cars, then dashes down the sidewalk.
The plate of food remains outside, just in case he returns,
just in case he is hungry. I remember the admonition,
“If you feed a cat, he will never leave.”
This silver arrow, this bright spear of life,
as sharp as a Damascus blade,
has already pricked my heart.