we had lots of cats on our farm
us kids named them all, some after
the intriguing return-addresses on our
mom's letters from around the state
(she was a state music clubs officer)
a black barn kitten had a mangey neck
our dad cured him with petro carbo salve
the kit became a long black cat with a long
black naked neck the hair never grew back
one day I was maybe seven I saw this cat
streak by with a bird in his jaws "Fernwood!"
I shrieked. "Bad cat! Fernwood Scrimshaw!
Drop that bird!" but the cat leapt into a tree
sat there crunching his catch I turned to see
my mother near a startled-looking woman
alongside a strange car "Jackie" my mom said,
"I'd like you to meet Mrs. Fernwood Scrimshaw."
2020 Jacqueline Jackson