The Stray Kitten

When I was a girl
     I found a stray kitten
Feral and frightened
     it ran and hid
          and would not come
               to my kitty-kitty calls
But my love was strong
     and my patience resolute

I set out fragrant food
     and sat a few yards away
          so still
               for so long
I watched the kitten peep
     from behind a tree
          her little nose sniffed the air
But she had been chased
     and terrified by big people before
So she stayed where it was safe
     and just looked with her large eyes
          despite the hunger gnawing her belly

Slowly, so slowly
     she stepped one foot
          in front of the other
               ready to bolt
                    at any sign
                         of danger
And still I stayed
     stable as a stump
till finally she reached the bowl
     and, eyes locked on me
          tasted the food

Every day we repeated this dance
     and I sat a little closer
until at last she let me stroke her
     and later still, to pick her up
          to name her
               to claim her
                    as my own

Now I realize
     I was the kitten
          neglected and bruised
     now as the girl
          with tender tenacity
               I refuse to give up

If perfect love 
     casts out all fear
then this 
     is how 
          it happens 

by Celeste Boudreaux, October 2020

Next post: The Wetlands Park

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