Fade to Black


The gray on the shed has faded
here and there,
sun, wind and rain having diffused
the colorless color
like spit into a wet watercolor.
There’s a gap under the left-side door
on the gable end.
I’m sure the rodents think of it
like I would I-95,
a direct route out of a hellish winter—
at least until March.
By the pile of red bricks over on my side,
a black cat with white mittens
slowly sniffs his way
around the corner and stops
in front of that shadowy slice of tollbooth.

Unlike mice, though,
he lacks that twitchy-whiskered EZ-Pass,
the one that helps them squeeze
through the tiniest loophole with ease,
like a little lawyer, ridden with fleas
and oozing with sleaze.
Heck, I’ll bet they’ll even sneak those
damned little varmints past St. Peter,
should their end day come to pass.

The great black hunter also lacks pockets
to hold any change for the toll,
or even a key for the door.
I guess that’s why he’s forced to wear
those mittens year-round.
Cat’s sitting there now, patient, waiting,
fully expecting, I’d imagine,
to end some rodent’s
uncharacteristically curious day
wondering about those fluffy white things
under the door of faded gray
with a swift pounce and
a fade to black.

Uncharacteristic for me, too, is this long free write. It was inspired by a cat outside doing what I am — waiting, hunting for something to sustain me on this colorless and cold winter’s day.


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