Barn Swallows

They’ve been back a few weeks,

bringing joy to our open field.

Tap dancers on tufts of spring breezes,

short spurts of song attending.


Slipping in and out of our barn,

nests are sprigged, and detailed

for another generation of acrobats;

those aeronautical exemplars of sky.


Cats lean against the door.

I imagine cigarettes bobbing

out of their mouths, as they discuss

the exploits of the day.


Their disregard for field mice,

those punks, beads for eyes,

little pipsqueaks of manic form.

So cat cliché, so old school.


Then a Cheshire grin settles

under their whiskers as

they look up with angel eyes

of insidious intent.


Feline felons in wait.

Butts are tossed, while

crouching coils their springs.

Hopes of swallowing a swallow.


I’ve never seen cats jump so high.


No more snooze button. A slit in one eye was enough. When coffee doesn’t make itself my feet and one eye suffices. When I opened the door, there stood the cat. My foot brushed his abdomen and he trotted in front of me. I walked and he strolled and I bumped him in his rear thigh and a space opened with a trot again. This happened all the way to kitchen like kicking a pinecone down the street. The coffee grounds fell on the filter and I made sure the red light came on. Then the cat and I played the rubber band dance all the way back to the end of my patience. I sat and that cat jumped up on my lap…top, and


in Calibri (Body) 11 point font, he pawed out a comma and ellipses’ strung together. I pursed my lips and made cat’s-eye-contact. Strange. Cats are strange. I don’t like them much. We have two of them and I know the names of neither. A first name basis is a bit too close to my comfort. “That cat”, “the cat”, is my term of endearment for these two arrogant, prissy, aloof fur balls with legs.


Was this some sort of “Morris” code? Was this a message sent from a famous commercial cat of the 70’s and 80’s? His Nine Lives were spent long ago and his portrait now hangs just outside of the board room of Purina headquarters. Maybe the spirit of “Morris” meowed into the ear of “that cat”. “Jump on his laptop”, he said. “Brush your hind end in his face followed by a tail whip to the eyes.” It was like a Cat O Nine Tails flogging my sleepy last nerve.


What meaneth this? A pause followed by a string of dots. Maybe it was his paws playing with a string of dots. Does he want food? Was 2% milk warm in a dish on his mind? Did he want me to, hope against hope, to pet him? Maybe that’s why they are called pets. But cats aren’t pets. They are twisted, purring, sleep on the clean towels on the shelf, and drive me to psychosis, felines. Even the species name makes them sound better than they are.


My wife caught me petting one in the middle of the night.


I finally rose and stutter stepped back to the kitchen with a large desire to punt the cat through the uprights. Instead I filled a golden dessert goblet type thing with water and set it on the counter. “That cat” jumped up, sniffed at it and then pranced away, nose in the air and a smirk on his face. Can cats smirk?