I knew what I was getting into

When I flew back to the United States

With my comfort animal in cargo

I was well read and I was warned

But now that it’s too late

I don’t read the news so much anymore

I try to count the cats I can see

Hiding on the perches and in the bushes

Of our neighborhood, better yet

I try to get to know their owners

So I can have a more challenging game

How many of these cats and their unique attributes

Can I now name

And the rule is not to wear headphones

On these idyllic walks

Because I am less likely to hear

What I’d be tempted to excuse

As a car backfiring

Than gunshots


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