It’s five fifteen in the morning
and I find my peace
in a plastic lawn chair.
The kind you buy
four for twenty
at the Dollar General.‭
Flecks of red spray paint
cling to my skin.

The tortoiseshell cat is satisfied
to sleep in the cradle‭
of my legs,
crossed ankle to knee
like a man.‭
She’s making biscuits.
needle point pricks of
country cat claws
kneading my pale,
doughy flesh.‭

The stray shepherd,
one eye sky blue and
the other mud brown,
is never satisfied.
But he missed me
when I ventured off the Ridge
and into town.
So he sits
as patient as he can manage‭
and I scratch his speckled muzzle
while the knock of his tail
echoes over loose,‭ ‬front porch
floor boards.‭

We sit in silence.

Except for the thump
and the purr.‭

Except for the cardinal.
Screaming‭ ‬-‭
“Wet dew‭! ‬Wet‭  ‬dew‭!”
one last time
before the light breaks
the whole holler.‭