The Stray

He wanders about


to let the whole town know

he’s there

with his loud, mournful cry

both in the dark

and in the daylight

sounding like a wind-up siren

winding down –


and slow –

amplified by narrow lanes

and tall, stone walls.

A sorrowful aria

of life on the streets

in this southern village

where the streets

are a cat’s life.

The white of his orange and white fur

is grey

and his face shows scars

from fighting for his place

and food the townfolk leave

in front of markets and homes

on rooftops and walls.

Earning such keep

keeping rodents at bay

among the many ruins.

Among the decay.

Belonging to none

except the pitch black feline

he’s permitted to mount

and nap near

neath parked cars in the piazza.

When I hear his cry

I sigh

and want to take him in.

But his feral ways

would not find their place


or in my arms

from which he bolts

when we meet on the roof

and in the streets.

But now and then

when our eyes meet

he lingers

and calls out

to let me know

he sees me as well.