Marvin Lurie

The Descendants

Morning. Snow high enough to hide traffic on the county road.
I unplug the oil heater
and pound on the hood of the truck
to warn the cats sleeping next to the engine block.
Lean scavengers with scarred muzzles
and half-bitten-off ears,
they forage in fields and yards,
snarl and hiss when rousted.
Descendants of refugees from development
who migrated here when this place offered bovine warmth,
ample rodents, occasional fish heads or bowls of old bread soaked in milk
and they were valued workers.
Now the barn sells second hand goods.
Cats patrol the edges,
make do with pilfered scraps, 
unwary birds, field mice
and little charity.
They're often in the corner of my eye
scanning the yard from under the porch,
stalking the fence line brush.
When I look right at them they slip away.
No one will take them in.
And they will not be taken in.

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