The cats gather by my kitchen door,
rubbing ribs against a box of overshoes
and spewing curses that waver
like an organ’s vibrato. I’ve given them
every left-over in the fridge—none of it
seems to soothe them, though when we enter
the dairy room where a sour scent still lingers
they hush and assume places, calico
sphinxes against the wall.

I switch on the radio, wait for
the first ones to lumber through—black
and white boulders—larger than you’d imagine
watching them in the field. If only
we could call them back, but by now
they must be past the beltway of Indianapolis,
peering through slats with eyes bewildered
as on the day we pulled them from their mothers.

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