A Safe Distance

At dinnertime,
His dinnertime,
This old black cat
Comes to the back porch,
Sits calmly,
And waits,
Knowing his supper will come.

But when I bring him food
He backs away,
Keeps a safe distance,
Though he must know me well by now.

Was he born wild,
Or abandoned young?
I don’t know.
But I too was once a homeless child
And so understand.

I have sheltered many strays
And know he will not be tamed,
Though after his meal
He often sits with folded paws,
Looking through the glass-paneled door,
Wistfully it seems,
At the alien world of my indoor cats,
Watching them stretch out on the sofa
In the flickering firelight,
Watching me,
Wanting to be part of something,
Wanting to be near,
But never,
Without fear.

~ Russ Allison Loar
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