A Life

Miss Petunia

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.

David Chorlton is a longtime resident of the desert zone in the Southwest, a landscape he is very attached to. Before Arizona he lived in England and Austria, and he has finally seen publication of a book decades in the making: The Long White Glove from New Meridian Arts. Nothing to do with poetry, rather a true crime story from 1960s Vienna. Read other articles by David.