Morris–
My Daughter Teaches Every Child She Knows to Love Her Cat
by Alice Morris

He was a half-grown stray regularly ripped to shreds
by the mangy pack of oversized ferals that had the run

of the old
beat-down neighborhood.

Early each morning he’d show up outside our cottage door —
crying, shaking, bleeding.

My three-year-old watched as I left him a little milk,
a bit of bread, a nip of cheese.

I’d tell my daughter stay back, explain
disease.

Eventually, she had to touch the copper-colored fur
on his back

and as though he knew he had found his home, his girl,
he never left a scratch.

We named him Penny because of his color, and because
it seemed his cat-world believed

he had no value.
But my child endlessly played with, talked about,

and drew pictures of our newfound Penny.
Soon, he appeared in other children’s family drawings.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: A picture of Penny found in my jewelry box after 18 years (2017). My daughter made this small cutout picture of Penny when she was about five years old. (She was very skilled with the scissors.) She used an index card for extra strength. (Photo by Alice Morris.)

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Lost and Found — I first thought of the diamond that I lost from a replacement wedding band, and recalled the dark hole left in its place, but this subject was suddenly eclipsed by a flood of images regarding, essentially, a refugee cat. The more I thought about how we found each other, it seemed that lost diamond kept getting smaller and smaller.

Morris–

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Alice Morris
, a Minnesota native, earned her BS from Towson State University, and MS from Johns Hopkins. She comes to writing with a background in art — published in a West Virginia textbook and The New York Art Review. Her poetry appears or forthcoming in The Broadkill Review, a shared chapbook, themed poetry collections and anthologies — most recently, Bared: Contemporary Poetry and Art on Bras and Breasts by Les Femmes Folles Books. Her work is also published by Silver Birch Press, The Avocet, The Weekly Avocet, and Delaware Beach Life.

Author photo by Alice Morris.