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Thursday, Sept. 30, 2004 12:48 pm

people's poetry 9-30-04

Barn Cat

I wanted my old cat.
My old cat curled around my neck
Like a black velvet collar.
She purred in my ear.
She talked all the time,
And when she was irritated
She talked very loud.
She rode my shoulders
Upstairs and downstairs
And even into the basement.

This mouse-fattened barn cat
Is far too heavy
To circle anyone's neck,
Even had he a mind to
He never talks.
His mew is pusillanimous.
His is a litter-flinger.
He is a food-off-the-table snatcher.
He is a reacher-outer when you go by
And a catch-you-with-a-clawer.
He is a grab-your-hander with his sharp teeth
When you play with him,
Never warning you of sudden pique.
He does purr a lot.

And you have to take the barn cat
When the barn is gone,
Don't you?

-- Jacqueline Jackson

Jacqueline Jackson is professor emeritus in English at the University of Illinois at Springfield. She is the author of several children's books and most recently two collections of stories about her childhood on a Wisconsin dairy farm, Stories from the Round Barn and More Stories from the Round Barn.

People's Poetry accepts poems on any subject, but ones that deal with issues of local interest are encouraged. Send yours to Books and Poetry Editor Corrine Frisch c/o Illinois Times, P.O. Box 5256, Springfield, IL 62705, or to cfrisch@illinoistimes.com with "People's Poetry" in the subject line.

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