In Praise of a Cat

— for Brother Ron Fender

No tailor’s artistry
could equal the elegance
of my cat’s stripes
as he walks into the bathroom
where I’m taking a shit.

Purring, he rubs
against my legs.
He accepts me on any
terms, comes close
however I smell,
loves me without illusion.

He makes me ashamed
of my own cowardice,
of the times I have flinched,
repulsed by the stench
of human beings
who only needed
an embrace.

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