Man with Kittens

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Cat Poems

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 Man with Kittens

He is tired of legal questions,
of reading law books late into the night,
of a contentious wife, mad about clothes,
and sons with small respect for fathers.
He is tired
of thinking about the country and what it's coming to,
and of himself and what he's coming to,
that big, lean, rawboned, homely, homespun man,
and so he leans down and pulls out a couple of kittens
asleep by their mother under the kitchen stove,
and goes out in his shirtsleeves to sit on the back steps
where the sun is shining and he can hear the neighbors' voices
to play with the kittens or watch them play with each other,
crouching in four-inch grass (Why haven't you cut the grass?)
like round-faced tigers
pouncing on one another, their blue eyes staring,
lashing their short tails, grappling, rolling,
breaking loose with furious miaous, distracted by beetles,
looking wise as little owls, innocent as a pair of flowers,
playing with his shoe string, attacking his big hand . . .
They have their uses, Abe's kittens. They make him smile
a different sort of smile. He looks easier,
and maybe falls asleep in a little while
there in the sun, his head against his arm
and that arm on the step by the kitchen door.
The kittens will not wake him. Like as not
they'll fall asleep themselves, when he's asleep


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