Regularly I come home and at the worn altar
of the mat that says Welcome,
a puff of feathers,
a squirrel’s tail with a scattered foot or two.
Gestures of conciliation or appreciation?
Or each a separate, singular solicitation,
a logosyllabic language of blood and bone?
The halved chipmunk,
an orison for a different daily kibble.
The mouse’s head alone,
a prayer for more playtime.
The unmarked, unmoving robin,
a supplication for wings.
Coolly, he watches and cleans a paw
as I sweep the latest up in disgust.
And I wonder whether he wonders
if he is cursed with an illiterate deity,
or worse, a deity in denial
of what it is a god desires.
J. David Hughes lives, works, and writes in Oxford, MS.