Bookmarking a Poem Saved Since 1989

I’ve had this poem shuffling around my file cabinet for many years. It’s time to put it somewhere more or less permanent.

The Graves of Cats

The graves of cats are not like
those of dogs or parakeets.
They have been slipped out of

a day or maybe two
after you packed the dark dirt
with the long-handled shovel.

Now as you play with the child
or drink a beer beside the stream
while the swallows skim the wheat,

the cats as though from under the table
stretch and slide past roots
and fallen leaves, and not a blade

of grass disturbed, not a worm,
except at the corner of your eye
there’s a small shift of direction

in the alfalfa, and for a moment
the evening preens and stares
in a way you almost call by name.

–Harry Humes

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