tail tucked in, fizzes and foams its flaming fur
out the wall phone’s speaker, the feral cat
unseating the couple on the davenport,
who ogle that miracle—television—
Sid Caesar and The Show of Shows,
its vague ears flat against its head,
head on its paws, collected in a ball,
then, as if ashamed, unwinds,
stretching low along the floor
but back into a ball it rolls, rising
along the knick-knacks on the what-not,
each now with a glowing countenance,
its spastic fur licking off wallpaper.
The lightning cat, sleek and leisurely
and sensing it’s on a roll,
tries to make it all right again.
Floating toward them, a bouncing ball
like one on Mitch’s sing-along,
but when the couple stares, eyes wide,
mouth opened, not breaking into song,
it disintegrates from sizzle to sigh.
It’s only in the morning they learn
that the previous night, the flying cat,
being territorial, killed the neighbor
cultivating across from their mailbox,
and the couple guessed that every farm,
be it known or not, had a cat named Lightning
not content with screeching and hissing
through the house but soon showing up
in the living room after being bad,
pitiful weapons retracted in padded paws
after patrolling property, striking out
at folks, lashing at them with lightning claws.