At fifty-three, I sometimes feel a subtle but irreversible sadness
seeping into my blood. I have failed at important things.
I long for a home I could love.

But recently, I brought into my thin-walled apartment a young cat
who is not at all sad. If a goddess had held this stray by the heel
and dipped her in brightness, as the infant Achilles was dipped,
she could not be more golden, the gold of a jar of marmalade
quivering in sun.

Sometimes she presses her nose against mine wonderingly,
but more often Lilly attacks my ankles with sheathed claws,
then somersaults onto her back to gaze at me upside down.
I can no longer leave drawers open or pens lying about.
My bathroom is smudged with paw prints.
Last night on the bus, I remembered
she was waiting for me at the front door, this hellion,
and my heart laughed.

Posted with kind permission from Francine Marie Tolf from The Rough Edge of Joy, © 2016 Red Bird Chapbooks of Minnesota

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