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I love the cats who mark you as their own.
My John Monroe, with no lower lip, drools

down my cheek as I hold him. Pigeon’s moan
is a dove’s coo. Nubbins hisses and mewls

in joy, his one eye, tattered ears, pressing
against my arm each time I stoke his bent

neck. Show me a love that’s not a blessing;
a love not supreme — I carry that scent

everywhere. On the days when this human
world is mean and when my friends turn away

and those that I call family despair
and when I am left depressed and maudlin

and I don’t have the strength to even pray —
there’s love. I carry that scent everywhere.

I volunteer at a no-kill cat shelter, Crash’s Landing, where most of my cat photos come from. The cats I mention are all waiting for someone who’ll want to give them their forever-homes.