by Mehrnoosh Torbatnejad

The calico returns to the living room
after scamper in backyard jungle,
bringing with him the rustle that
animals do while loitering
in their owner’s home

I do not turn to the familiar stir
of paws inching against carpet
when he enters,
but I hear the swish of air
subdued by his urgent moan
and find sparrow shaking
in the forgiving grip of his jaw

He does not release the bird
until I accept this flutter of fear,
this winged panic braced for the second
fangs press deeper into its breast

I extract the thank you
from the cat’s hold, discharge
the recovery into confusion
until it finds its way outdoors,
a prayer follows, an apology
that devotion took such
a near-death form

I stroke his ears and neck
with the tenderness of the
dubious, the in-between,
wishing love did not leave
residue, the feathers I wipe
from the creamy fur
of his skin


Category: Poetry, SNHU Creative Writing, SNHU online creative writing