There is a presence missing in these rooms,
a cat curmudgeon, yes, a feline klutz,
a lean lap leopard who, indifferent, grooms
or sleeps beneath his mistress' loving touch.
With loud, demanding yells, inside the tub
he'd stand before his private drinking fount.
All visitors' advances he would snub.
When children came, to highest floor he'd mount,
and even friends, when opening a door,
he'd detour 'round, as if he thought they'd kick.
He was quite large, and black as any Moor,
and when, in course of time, he came down sick,
somehow he kept his Frankie-ness intact,
still tangling his claws in blanket-weave
and spitting out the pill so subtly packed
inside a treat. We'll miss him, and we'll grieve.

For Judy
November 21, 1998
Valerie White