(April 1998)

Copyright (c) 1998 First Things 82 (April 1998): 27.

Leaving Sixty

A neighbor’s cat ambled by, wetting our sand
casually, as natural as lions
in the Kalahari marking their range. That cat
killed a squirrel, sniffing to be sure it died.
We saw her crouched by our porch
in a heap of leaves, not really eating.
Later, I hauled it off, the dumpster loaded
with leaves, dust in the air, spring cleaning,

sneezing when we walked to the park and back,
cats and squirrels everywhere, the leash law
only for dogs. At noon, the drowsy cat
sauntered across the road toward home, yawned,
and leaped to the porch like a baobab tree’s
wide bough, lolled like a lion, eyes closed
with one paw dropped, tail flopping,
scheming another hunt, of a wide-eyed
panting impala as jaws snatched the throat
for a better hold and squeezed.

---Walt McDonald