Like Cats and Dogs

Blogger’s Note: Old Boomer spent much of this morning asleep on the fresh-cut grass as I mowed. He doesn’t look for trouble — never has, really, but once when Jodi and I lived in South Dakota, he snapped his dog-chain in a successful bid to kill a stray orange tom cat that liked to hang out in our driveway and stare at him. He’s never cared for cats — but his killer instinct is reserved, it seems, for those felines he actually sees. And when you’re partly blind and mostly asleep, that’s a pretty small number … but even in his younger days, he generally missed them.

the cat
i saw her earlier,
before supper,
westbound through the clover.
boomer was asleep, I think,
or too busy parading about,
bone in his jaws,
to notice
the cat, slate and white
and obvious on the grass—
she crossed over and
vanished in the weeds,
hunting gophers.

and again at sundown,
a ripple in the stems—
she reappears,
slips narrowly
between the high grass
and cement foundation,
close to the house.
boomer lies,
great and soft and
keeping watch,
the wrong direction,
from the porch.

she stops abruptly, yellow
eyes trained upon the dog—
natural adversary, and
a terrier to boot.
he’s killed, she’s sure—
birds, yes, and more recently
a ground squirrel.
once, an orange tom.
she proceeds,
slinks wide of the stoop,
silent and unseen,
save by me.

and later,
the airedale tosses skyward
a bloodied gopher;
cocks his great head
at its unlucky stripes and
wonders how it died.

J. Thorp
08 June 01

2 thoughts on “Like Cats and Dogs

  1. I'm fond of the “unlucky stripes” bit — as an animal nut when I was a boy, I learned that what we called gophers were really 13-lined ground squirrels.

    And I can still see the doggish joy and curiousity on Boomer's face finding a dead one to play with! He's a great old dog. Gotta scan a pic of him to post …

    Thanks for reading!


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