There is a shuffling
uncertainty to sunrise
once dawn snaps
its fiery scarf at the sky.
Three cats could be sleeping
quietly, when two field
sparrows might appear
on the porch, peeping
and leaping to the top
of the French doors.
Slowly, the cats slip
from the lilac lip
of the quilt, pushing
the blinds aside to covet
these tiny fists of flight.
Or a crow might plant
himself in the garden
and toot a rusty flute.
Six feline ears rise inside
with each note, whirling
alert to his brackish tune.
It's a gift to drift in bed
on such a morning,
listening to the skip
and slide of birdsong
tickling the pines.
Tangled clouds cushion
the sun, as hundreds
of blackbirds gather
in the laps of wingless
trees, their shrill sigh
a feathered meadow
and a sign of warmer
times ahead.


Diffused sunlight
skips across the wall,
while my adventurous
cat burrows like a muskrat
under a mound of plastic
dust covers piled
high on a folding chair.
When working on computer,
I fling all the covers
in one place, creating
a translucent mountain
no feline can resist-
an instant kitty magnet.
Soon all three will be
nestled among its filmy
petals, sailing the green
meadows of sleep, gifting
me several hours to type
undisturbed by wet
noses or curious paws.
Typing every day
in the same space
with office cats requires
special skills, including
one for creating
irresistible diversions.
The snicker of a muffled
snore drifts from layers
of crunched plastic-
my oldest cat is rolled
in a ball beneath
the other two, silken
paws wrapped around
her face like the satin
ribbons bundling
a Christmas gift.


Mid-January, and
drizzle paints the day
the color of dust,
while crows fuss
in the street, yapping
at the cold like drenched
little dogs, as if their
prickled tune could smudge
the sky from gray to blue.
Within the balmy husk
of the kitchen, splatters
of winter rain seem
to zigzag from wall to wall.
But it's only my oldest cat
lapping the morning's
folly from her coat.
And in the window,
the youngest cat
chases his tail, whirling
against the glass,
huffing at the drapes,
while slapping a plush
snake, which suddenly
plunges to the floor,
where he puddles
in a pool of ebony fur,
dizzy and ecstatic.


Midmorning, the first
week of January,
and a full moon
buttons this chilly day.
The sky blueberry-
stained, while lavender
clouds curl like dragon-
tails, and a cold
front washes in from
the west, spreading
rumors of rain.
Two cats burst
through the door,
skitter around a stool,
and leap into
their favorite chair-
my adventurous cat
howling like a jaguar
at the youngest one,
as he nips at her tail.
The oldest cat
follows at a leisurely
pace, ignoring
their screams, her
tapered nails clicking
across the floor
as if she were petalled
with stiletto heels.

  © Laura Stamps