Then it was only common coyotes that took
our blame when yard cats went missing,
vanished from spots in the shade, from their loose
feline associations, tails a flick and sunny
twitch, grubbing bugs beneath cacti.
Rarely a sign appeared at the Sinclair.
Casted bold, money symbols arching
a photo, description, phone number. Rarely
names, though, and more rare the cats
that came home. But to be unfound was promise
enough. We were spared their awful grace,
an end met well beyond our town’s blurry limits.
Tonight let us toast that squinty-eyed calico
with Mexican beer, and the summer she stuck fast
to the road near our house, cat-wrist deep in new tar.
Once freed, she never wandered beyond the yard
and stayed shaded up near our sickly cottonwood.
Oh, sweet short-sighted calico, the one that stayed
close, grew fond of porchlights, ate mayflies,
and purred when she heard the screen door.