We had recently trained our new kitten
to go outside in timed increments.
We sat on the porch watching her
as we would a toddler, encouraging her
to stay within a three-house
boundary on each side of our home.
We knew she would go farther later,
but for now we wanted to keep her close,
for her safety and our peace of mind.

In the early morning hours
of a restless night of ugly thoughts,
conversations and scenes that
have circled through my brain,
preventing a deep, peaceful sleep,
I step out the door of our house,
not to our neighborhood of tract houses
but to a meadow that leads to a forest,
a vast expanse of land with beautiful foliage,
blossoms, birdsong, the weather warm
the breeze pleasant, the clouds fluffy,
a Disney world with no cartoons.
I can’t enjoy this idyllic setting, though.
Jazzie, our little scamp, has darted out.
Afraid she will get lost, or worse,
become prey of a wolf or hawk,
I think through how to capture her.
I will pinch her neck then scoop her up.
But when I chase her, she runs faster.
I try my whistle-and-cajole.
She responds with a coy dance
then races into the trees.

When I describe the dream later
to a friend who has dogs, not cats,
she cannot understand
my utter terror.