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The weeds and tall grasses
Bursting through the floor
Of my neighbor’s old pool
Create an urban terrarium
For mice, possums, neighborhood cats.
From the roof of my house
I see the grass ripple, something disturbing
The surface from underneath
As if it were filled with water.
It hasn’t been, not for many years
By the look of it.
Longer than I have lived here.
I see the warm colors of a cat’s tail emerge
Like a periscope,
Tortoiseshell reds and browns, pointed toward her quarry.
My cat leaps, but the mouse or rabbit escapes
Through a hole in the pool wall
Small enough that she can’t get through.
She is surprisingly gentle
On the occasions where she has caught birds or bunnies
And brought them indoors, unharmed.
We gingerly cup them in our hands
And take them back outside.
When my parents visit
(individually, never together)
They stand at my upstairs window
Looking disparagingly at my cat’s hunting grounds.
“I hate blight,” my mother says.
I do not remind her that none of the houses on my block are abandoned.
Nothing is boarded up, there are no crumbling walls
Or husks of dead cars left to rust.
“That is an eyesore.”
“My cat loves it,” I say.
And part of me does, too.
The part that smiles
When I see birds’ nests in neon signs
And tree roots pushing through concrete.
The part that is consoled by the fact
That nothing lasts forever.
That people can’t control everything.
I take inspiration from the stubborn dandelion
That insists on thriving
Despite people’s best efforts,
And from my cat
Who is now across the street, perched on a sign that reads,