Felid Score

By Amy Barone

Antsy and drunk, he treads Fifth Street by Avenue A
Seeking something finer to warm his soul and prolong the buzz

Snowflakes as round as cotton balls drape the night
Render the street and few imploring faces unfamiliar

The white mirage obscures his focus
Gloveless he half-heartedly plods ahead on the mission

Descending the last strain of the alcohol high
He stops on a cracked stoop to light an American Spirit

Powder flies from his steel-gray woolen cap as he looks down at his scuffed Doc Martens
Eyes fix on a bundle of butterscotch fur

She's a gal with little fear
His short-term memory takes over and he bends down to get acquainted

Regales her with tales of the streets
Until she accepts his invitation home with open mouth

Together they awake to a quiet tinged white
And her comfort level amazes him

He prays for maybe the first time in his life
That no one claims her as he posts 'found' signs on the block

'Cleo' turns out to be a lap cat
Who unabashedly adores her rescuer

Later that year he decides to quit the junk
He can't live day-to-day anymore, will try for week-to-week

Enters a local clinic program, shuns the 12-steps
He may never be the same; years of dallying cast an indelible scar

But she doesn't know his past
Can't see that a set of sparkles returned to his almond eyes