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My Father Kept his Cats Well Fed

Kenneth Sherman
From:   The Cost of Living. Mosaic Press, 1981


[Click HERE for Sound]


My father kept his cats well fed.
In back of the tailor shop
far from consumer eye
they'd stretch
on thick rolls of mohair,
on new blue synthetics from Japan.

And somehow he bought time
to keep fresh milk in the saucepan,
providing leftovers
from a hurried lunch.

Between the measurements and complaints,
between the clean sound of closing shears
they were his own animal symphony
purring at a conducted stroke
under the chin,
behind the ear.

The cats,
they sang my father's praise
in the fishbone throat of the coldest nights
where their lives, once lean, curled fat and secure

and dreamt their gifted names:
No Neck, Schvartz Kaatz, Rabinovitz
a regular minyan
to greet his early mornings
when snow outside
dropped soft as padded paws
and the shop was a museum hush.

There they reclined,
impenetrable as the sphinx,
the curious engines of their soft throats
running, their great eyes smouldering
in the precious twilight of my father's day

before the startling ring
and the long unwinding of curses
and cloth.



Kenneth Sherman's works copyright © to the author.


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