pretty lake

Here starts the day with mourning doves, and ends it with a chorus

of crickets and frogs and baying dogs,

and rustlings of a fox in the forest

 

Small cat, Russian blue, (the humans call him Goofus)

crouches on the picnic table, painted red but peeling

Tail twitching, his golden eyes follow

a cardinal on the fence: white, picket, gated

under the spread of an oak, ancient and sprawling, with tire swing strung up high

behind the seawall—gray, concrete—scaled with waterlines in green and brown

against which the lake waves gently lap, slap, tumble and foam

 

Here starts the day with coffee brewing, and ends it with a dessert

of cookies au lait or ice cream and cake

or fresh brownies the color of dirt

 

The cat advances, the cardinal starts; he flies up to the catalpa, amid leaves like hearts

while the branches, hung with seedpods, sway in the idle breeze

The cardinal stares, his eyes beady and black; he tilts his head just so

until the cat loses interest, and lopes off the table

toward the hedge, infested with beetles (iridescent, Japanese)

for which cans of kerosene lie below, as pungent traps

These he ignores as he starts up the steps, painted red, eleven in all

 

Here starts the day with a soft-knocked door, and ends it with a kiss

after a rented video or T.V. shows

that those children were loath to miss

 

The cat clambers up to the sun-plaited deck

with its swinging bench, and its umbrella-covered table

and its railings draped in towels drying, fluttering like flags

He settles near the northeast corner, under the railing

beneath a pickle jar of sun tea: white-lidded, voluminous, contents the color of amber

To his left, the hummingbird feeder hangs

saccharine and vacant; they know better than to test his wiles

 

Here starts the day with mourning doves, and ends it with a chorus

of crickets and frogs and baying dogs,

and rustlings of a fox in the forest

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