We resist the urge to name the black cat
after we found the small, charcoal one
bloated and deformed from days in water,
but she becomes familiar to us anyway.
She curls under our feet when we sit
in the plastic lawn furniture at night.
She comes out to mewl at lunch, seeking
food and attention, but she's too skittish
to come closer. It becomes an triumph
to see if we can draw her close enough
to touch her tail, or better, her curved back
before she flees into the shadows to hide.
She inches back to us a few minutes later.
But then, she doesn't come back anymore,
and we keep setting out bowls of water
and plastic containers of dried kitty food,
hoping that she'll come back to see us
unless she's found somewhere better,
somewhere more interesting than here,
where she can run wild in the outback
or continue to calm around nice people
or find another cat to keep her company.
Still, no one's surprised on the morning
someone finds the still unnamed cat,
swollen, rigid, and floating in a pond.