Myra puddled among beige cats.
Beige herself, she disappears
except for her bat-ears looming
above the crowd. The other cats
welcome Myra’s alien features:
elongated head, spindle legs,
whippet tail. She’s popular,
and fecund, once, giving birth
to more than twenty litters
of Oriental Shorthair kittens.
After eight years, too exhausted
to continue, she faced extinction;
but the shelter queen snatched her
from her indifferent owner’s grasp.
She’s the only sample of her breed
among a hundred and fifty cats—
yet unadoptable, unwilling
to live in a house lacking cats
enough to shield her from the world.
Five years huddled here among
cats glad to have her. Sometimes
she withdraws to the under-parts
of a tattered upholstered chair
and snores her old lady snore
alone in the dark. More often
we find her cuddled with her friends,
all complementing her color.
We brush and feed her as if she
alone occupied this shelter;
and the sixty other cats
in this room gaze upon her
with a certain satisfaction,
as if her exotic framework,
more like a monkey’s than a cat’s,
flattered by comparison.