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April 2013, vol 9, no 1

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Francis W. Alexander


After moving here in the month of March, the first thing I encountered was a group of cats. Apparently, the people downstairs drew them here with leftover food. Seeing the felines brought back memories of my childhood when cats roamed the neighborhood.

kittens at play
scatter when I open the door
late summer morning

We had a black cat when I was young. That was before kitty litter. Many were the times we searched frantically for the source of that awful smell. In spite of the inconvenience, my grandmother obviously loved cats. They’d always come to the back yard after finding a way past our fence. She would set plates on either side of the sidewalk in the back yard. Part of the menu was food scraps, cat food, and pet milk. The felines came through the alley from the Cat Ladies house. In our hood, the Cat Lady was an old white woman who hobbled around her back yard with cries of “Here kitty kitty kitty.”

many moons
my widower grandfather
still feeding cats

Now my property is vacant, the house gone. I live on the second floor of an apartment across from my lot. I feed the felines and let some of them stay with me. A cat with a white streak running down its nose, orange cats, a grey cat with a white dot on its back and mix matched white and black legs, and black cats make their way up my concrete stairs. Sometimes I wonder if these felines might not be descendants of the ones I saw those many years ago.

cool breeze
the kitten jabs, bites, then hugs
this feathery toy