Kobe, a big fluffy ginger guy,
is boldly round and aggressive.
When I arrive to clean the room
he leans from a cage-top and hugs
and drapes himself around my neck.
He clings there as I vacuum and mop
the floor, clings as I gather the dishes,
then drops back onto the cage
when I set out fresh canned food.
Angelo and Gloria, his friends,
defer to his cuddly bulk. The room,
the Patriots Room, small and square,
houses a dozen grown cats, each
clawing to maintain a foothold.
Some hunker in cages because
still timid or unsocialized.
Some cluster at the dry food dishes
and swap gossip, rumors, anecdotes.
Most move up and down the furniture,
taking turns at the window,
but Tippy, slick-black and declawed,
can’t climb the cages so stays
close to the floor. Kobe peers down
from his aerie and sneers. Half
the volunteers fear his big paws,
which they claim he wields too freely.
I don’t mind a few scratches, though.
The weight of him around my neck
warms me to the soles of my shoes;
and the way he snugs up to Gloria
and Angelo proves that causes
are never lost, that no cat
is too big and thuggish to love.