An Audience

The cat was orange
and pitiful, its mewling
subdued but sharp.
It led me across the road,
its head twisting back
every few steps to make
sure I followed.

It had patches of hairless
scabs like kneepads
on its hindlegs,
and wandered into the ruins
of an old trailer home.
Reddish planks seemed
hung on strings of insulation,
waiting to fall inward
with the slightest shrug of wind.
The cat perched up on a stump beside
the dying hovel.

The poor thing didn’t ask for help,
but with a widow’s pride
licked its paw as if to say:
this is my home, little man.
it’s not much, but I have
the ruling of it.

I laughed to myself
and walked away,
the cat’s eyes like a king’s
watching my departure with solemnity.

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