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Ugmo and the Tenth Life


Eighteen years together
human and cat –
how can I, newly arrived,
know the story?

He came a hobo
you named Ugmo
rough, torn and thin.
You wouldn’t let him in –
who can trust a ranging male?

Two years he lived
in your garage
freezing on the step
for a meal. Hypnotically
he opened your door.

Belly-up by the fire
he spent remaining winters
befriending the house.
You seldom saw him fight
never kill.

In return for food
and a daily lap
he supported your moods
seemed to forget the past
to even forgive you his testicles.
He became your cat
you his human.

Now you huddle
one end of the couch
a fetus of indecision
while he curls
dying on the other.

You sleep from sadness
and knowledge.
He sleeps pawtwitch dreams
of the tenth life.

Michael F. Hughes


Hampshire County Arts Council, P.O. Box 624, Romney, WV 26757    webmaster e-mail address

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