Walking the Cat

Each night I take the old dog for a walk.
I put his harness on, attach the leash,
and when we step outside into the dark

we find the cat, a shadow in that dark,
awaiting us, as always. For her, no leash,
but still she’ll orbit us loosely as we walk.

The dog and I will take the lit sidewalk,
each tethered to a body by a leash,
as she roams free, a little blot of dark

patching the fabric of the larger dark:
under a fence, through thickets any leash
would tangle in, culverts no man can walk. . .

I listen for her faint bell as we walk
and sometimes make my voice into a leash,
pull her with special words out of the dark

for a brief touch, perhaps, before the dark
reclaims her. The old dog strains then on his leash.
Above us, the old moon on its nightly walk,
the belled stars chiming faintly in their dark.