Nora, Ernesto and Miss Petunia

Paintings In Costa Rica Photographs from the Southwest Creature comforts: the menagerie New Book Chronicles: Poems from Arizona History Road to Ruins, Photos (AZ, CO, & NM) Recent Watercolours Birds around the house West of Remembering:Together on the Road Nora, Ernesto and Miss Petunia Stormlight, a poem on the Pueblo Revolt Poems from an Ahwatukee Summer Ahwatukee Year Beginning (Poems)

One night in January 2011 we were alerted to a cat on the premises of a nearby set of expensive apartments down the street from our central Phoenix house. She was getting snacks from the night watchman. We manged to lure her out and catch her, so she has been a member of the household until recently in 2022 when ill health struck. That was Nora, the black cat. Ernesto showed up on West Palm Lane a couple of years later and was taken in. He crossed the Rainbow Bridge unexpectedly also in 2022. Miss Petunia, the tortie, was senior cat for a while, but ill health took her in 2021. She had been taken in as a kitten and remained a pleasantly unusual cat.

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A Life


I               In the Sun

Born in a ditch. Or the alley. Maybe

under the house. But found and

fed. Too shy to be cared for, so

ran away. Six months. Then back as a

tortie shadow, mostly wild in

a half-wild yard. Grew into a regular

time of day: morning food

and suppertime too. Came into

the screened porch. Slept. And the stars

purred overhead each night.

One year; ten years. Never learned

to sheathe her claws. Looked a little

bit domestic once indoors. Lured in

to have a home. Look, don’t stroke!

Still kept to herself, except

when the opener ground

its teeth around a can. Slipped off

to where her fur

became invisible. Then slowing

came quickly. Easy now

to stroke. Growing old from inside.

Too weak to run

taken out to feel the sun

comb back the years

these few, late minutes.


II             Requiem

While a house lay sleeping

an owl began

its midnight calls. It opened wide

its sheltering wings

and followed a departing spirit

up and over the mountain

with its voice the sound

of moonlight touching solid ground.