My Life in Cat Years (the final installment)

VIII.

Molly, the immigrant.

Petite, polite, and personable,

the perfect tabby.

 

We adopted her while vacationing

 in the Bahamas

upon my daughter’s persistence 

and insistence

that the little stray needed 

a permanent home.

Molly arrived in the States

nestled inside a scuba bag

without protest,

and quickly assimilated to 

a new culture,

a new climate,

a new family,

with grace and a good-natured 

sensibility.

Molly’s love of chasing lizards

replaced by her fascination in 

the suburban foxes 

who integrated into our neighborhood

by the dozens.

Molly is mostly an indoor cat

but she enjoys her

early evening porch-sitting.

Yet on occasion, 

she has slinked out of our yard 

to mingle with the foxes.

Her flirtatiously submissiveness

is bold for a nine pound cat.

The foxes never hurt her.

But in their confusion,

they yip and bark

and run skittish circles 

around her. 

Molly is a dog lover.

She’s bestie with the family pooch, Ivy.

Pack sisters, soul sisters, play sisters.

You mess with one, 

you mess with the other.

When it is time for dog walks

Molly turns up her frisky monitor

and trails along behind us–

sprinting between parked cars,

scurrying up tree trunks 

messing with Ivy

who she knows is a worrier.

Molly makes human friends easily, too

She waits on the boulevard

for walkers to pass by,

then quickly trots out to introduce herself.

She uses a full body roll technique

which scores belly pets 

followed by back and forth side rubs 

against human legs.

Strangers are so convinced by Molly’s

affection, they assume she must be lost.

Our phone rings

messages from callers,

standing a few yards from our house,

they ask if we own a cat named Molly

whom they fear may be abandoned.

We open the door 

and give a wave of thanks, 

“That’s just Molly. 

She loves making new friends.”

Now in her twilight years,

Molly spends most days 

nestled in her heated bed, 

or in the crook of the couch cushion

or on a blanket of warm afternoon sun,

dreaming of the wilds,

a Bahamian-American life well lived.

IX.

Ollie, the pandemic kitten

this fall, my daughter struggled 

with Covid related anxiety 

and thought she might benefit 

from owning a cat herself 

“a comfort animal”

so she and her roommates 

adopted a little calico 

draped in a cheetah pattern 

with a caramel undercoat

all ears 

it has been a long time 

since I have been around a kitten

since I’ve been around 

the blur of speed and energy

since I’ve been around

three pounds of downy soft

but over the winter break 

my daughter brought Ollie home 

with her for an extended stay 

and I discovered a newfound joy

in spoiling and fussing over my first

cat grand-baby

4 thoughts on “My Life in Cat Years (the final installment)

  1. It’s been such a joy to read these poems. I love the word play in the section about Molly. “Petite, polite, and personable,the perfect tabby.” and “upon my daughter’s persistence /and insistence”. And love how you ended with a grand-kitten. These brought smiles to my day.

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  2. As a fellow cat parent I take delight in reading your poems. Molly is such a character and must have a special place in your heart.

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  3. I so enjoyed meeting Molly and Ollie. And I truly feel like I met them through your descriptions. The teacher in me imagines sharing this poem and asking groups of students to mark it up to notice the word play and the craft moves. SO, SO many! Such a rich poem and your love of animals comes through loud and clear! Thanks for sharing. So glad you participated this March!! I hope you are free on the 11th to come celebrate safely at Lacey Wood Park (see email invite).

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  4. Molly and Ollie to round out this charming series! Crafted with wondrous word play- “pack sisters, soul sisters, play sisters”, this piece had me bopping from line to line. I love how I learned not only about the felines in your life, but also about the writer.

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