By Jack Brown

After planting purple spider wort
around the tombstone of the old soldier
in the cemetery at the end of the road
we scuttle from ridge to ridge.
A country Doc
and a visitor from New York.

May Apple reflects the sun
like a satin mandala.
A little cedar dodging the bushwhacker
snuggles against a lone walnut tree
in the meadow.
Passed the pond quick with Koi,
by the abandoned peach orchard,
the capstone of the well
bears fossils
of creatures with wings
and creatures with fins.

We linger under
the exalted blue sky.
“If you don’t know it
when you see it
you don’t know it.”

On the way to Indian Point
we enter a tunnel.
A canopy of White Oak and Maple
Limestone, poison ivy and rattlesnakes,
“The gentleman
he always warns you before he strikes”

Picking our way across glabrous stones
marking three indian graves
we ascend an outcropping
higher than an eagle’s nest.
Overlooking the Kentucky River.
“When you’re talking about Kentucky
you’re pretty much talking about Daniel Boone.
Two hundred acres of prime bottom land
ripen on the other side. Beyond six or seven miles
as the crow flies, Station Creek. Site of Daniel Boone’s
base camp before he pushed West.

The Cat Came Back

Absorbed in weeding the morning glories
I never sensed his approach.
How long did he sit observing
until desire for contact
outstripped patience and curiosity?
A hunt not for kill but kindness.
In benevolent exasperation he called
“Hey it’s me.”
The urgent familiarity jerked my head up.
“Oh it’s you.”
Absent nearly nine months from his perch
I had wondered it his staunch cat spirit
was among those come and gone
spanning these mortal days and spectral nights.

I stepped onto the brick planter
at the base of the wall.
Then this cat, wearing
a tuxedo leaned into my hands
trusting I would balance his ardor
and joy would prevent his fall.

Born in the urban backyard
he warmed his bones
that rookie winter
by the heat of the iron chimney,
strapped to the flank of the building.
Pointing to the sky.

I remembered him
as Lord of the Fire Escapes
flying up and down
learning the secrets of his world
fleet sure footed and lean,
cadging handouts
and cultivating wary relationships.
His own animate shadow during the day.
Cutting lazer eyed through the night.

The Cat Came Back (2)

After feeding this feline
I lured him with chicken
to a trap. Then sent him
on his way. He returned
from the outside
to prosper but not to propagate.

In time
with his desperation cooled
someone took him in.
His visits, less frequent,
assumed the insouciance
of a padrone’s leisurely stroll.
His coat was luxuriant.
His heft evinced comfort.

This visit may have been an escape.
But the cat came back.
And like old times,
when I turned to go,
he reached out with a feral strike
and pinned my foot with his claws.

Instinctively I motioned
“Come on. Come on.”

About the Author:

Jack Brown

Jack Brown. Poet, songwriter & activist. Lives in New York City.