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On feet bare like a desert saint’s, it pads
across the porch and toward the dry cat food
my wife pours out for strays. It doesn’t scare
when I stomp, bellow, toss a pebble
at its rump, just hisses at me, geezerly,
and keeps on chewing. Eyes like little radio
dials and fur like coal snow, smog sky, or anything
smudged, dirty, it reminds me of the boy
in school we called Possum for how he slept
through class and how his eyes were beaded black,
his nose sharpened to needle fine. When at last
I knock it off the porch with one quick blow
from a snow shovel, it scuttles under
a shrub and disappears into the house’s
cracked stone foundation, knowing more than I—
beneath the sound of footfall, chair-scrape, voice
descending like the ash of distant fire—
the saint’s strange way to practice death.

—Benjamin Myers