When he’s not roaming
our grandsons’ Peach Fuzz
sleeps on family beds
He thinks sleeping people
need a watchful cat
to keep mice away
in dark night.
When we visit them
for a weekend stay
we feel a lump at our feet
guarding our bed.
We felt accepted
as family when Peach Fuzz
decides to sleep
Long-haired, bedraggled, dirty, underfed,
he came to us a scruffy, half-grown cat.
After several days we gave him board and bed
and fixed a box in house to signal that
Sylvester had signed on as our house cat.
His name proclaimed the fact that he looked
just like Tweety-bird's cat in the cartoons.
He thrived and grew. Every bath he took
unwillingly turned his white paws whiter
and he became the cat's meow quite soon
throughout the neighborhood as he forsook
us-problem cat, too much the traveler-
to dally with his feline friends by night.
He often came back home with bloody bites
suggesting our Romeo should stay home.
Neutered, our pet was less inclined to roam.
He spent his evenings in convenient laps,
a fatter cat who often took long naps.
His expert hunting skills were still intact.
He learned to bring in mice and voles, not birds,
but when quite angry at traitorous acts
placing him on kennel fare (how absurd!)
he killed a pretty bird to tell us that
we had not played fair with our housecat.
He dropped it at the door to make his point
and put his birder master out of joint.
So desertions by family he rewarded
with violent acts to show what he resented.
Then he settled back to tabby status
innocently napping as if full of trust.
He posed on our toilet for photo play
untaught and unrehearsed, yet sad to say
he never learned to flush, but ran away.
I admit this blemish. Except for that
Sylvester became the perfect housecat.
A native Virginian, Richard Peake became a Texas resident after retiring from the University of Virginia’s College at Wise. He published early poems in Impetus alongside John Ciardi and in The Georgia Review and many small journals. Collections of his poetry appeared in Wings Across… and Poems for Terence published by Vision Press, which also included poems of his in A Gathering at the Forks. He published Birds and Other Beasts in 2007. During 2008 and 2009 he won awards from Gulf Coast Poets and The Poetry Society of Texas and published in Sol Magazine and Shine Journal (one nominated for the Pushcart Prize). In 2010 he has published in Avocet, Asinine Poetry, Raven Images, Phantom Kangaroo, valenTRange and elsewhere.