Evening Cats

This was first published on Osho News

A poem from Madhuri’s new coffee table book, Flying Lady with Cat.

Whenever my brother and I meet
in some confluent tributary
of our travels,
we’ll end up going for a walk
in some suburban dusk,
on a British Columbian isle
or chalet-studded Alp.

And we’ll hunker down
to woo the evening cats
on watch outside their houses –

The black and white
who bobs up suddenly
and comes straight to us
tail up
lifting his paws onto our knees,
looking into each face in turn
then circles us as cats do,
brushing our clothes
with fur.

(If a cat likes you
for his own instant reasons
you’ll get three eyes to look at –
his squinched-with-pleasure,
or wide-with-curiosity
or inscrutable, two –
and the one under his tail
he shows you often, and all too well –
a compliment, no doubt.)

Then there are the cats
who’ll come half out across the lawn
and stop, and sit, and stare.

Or the ones who won’t
do anything but crouch
before a darkening door
round-eyed, moving
not at all.

We folks, one tall, one small
coax, with proper restraint
the cat with wonky chewed-up ear –
who, nervous of us,
stays back, stays back.

There was that house
with sixteen cats
decorating car, and fence,
and porch –
so many cats who rolled
and purred and rubbed
it took the edge off the fun –

of greeting
and then retreating
away into the twilight.

The intimacy of strangers
showing souls
to each other so freely
and briefly

Paused there like streetlamps –

Lebanon, OR, Oct. ‘05

You can buy your copy of Flying Lady with Cat here.