For two weeks Ria and I had tiptoed around The mother cat's box, peering in whenever she
Would let us look, the dog's hot breath
At our backs.
And the kittens!
All heads, shut eyes bulging, and the world
All fur, and mother's milk, and wriggling.
Not ours to touch till their eyes had opened.
We waited out the long hot days in our cotton
Pants, a year too young for undershirts,
Under the rain of the sprinkler, harnessed
Pete, the retriever, as horse in our sidewalk
Theater, galloping to the rescue of the
Us too - shut up in the swing set's interior.
It was early, the day it happened - so early
Was cool, and grass heavily wet, and the road
Sharp with the smell of new tar - Ria banging
On my door, saying the kittens were gone. We
Back and forth on the floor.
Running and calling
Through the yards, we heard his bark -
Curled around four wriggling kittens climbing
Leaving a trail of tiny tar footprints, blinking
Their eyes, nuzzling his soft mouth.