Cat Lady Primer
by Claire Hermann

Each one has its defects, its troubles –
bad kidneys, fear of boots,
heart swollen, gums red –
and each its quirks –
a fondness for burying nails in the soft skin of your shoulder,
a tendency to run beneath your feet.
You know them as well as you know any intimate
who sleeps in your bed and eats from your plate
and cannot speak your language.
They come to you with scars, but no histories,
demands, but no reasons.
Of all the world’s downtrodden
these are the ones who come to your door
and wait to be let in.