At the top of a staircase do you sometimes
Place one hand on the bannister’s surface,
Lightly grasping it as you go down? At the end
Is round wood for your palm to rest upon and cup.
That is just what I like to do with my dear pet:
Thinking of him as The Cat In The Iron Mask
I open wide my fingers for Henry
To insert his head and push against.
Then my hand tightens lightly over his face,
Fingertips reaching the start of his short neck

(Cats have little body between a chin and a chest).
He stays there for moments.
(Henry has never been much of a purrer
But if he were he would surely vocalize,
He does so like our little game!)

At the beauty shop which takes men too
The Latina beautician massages my scalp,
Neck, old shoulders, and back in a loving way;
She is not a young person, so this is all right.
Standing behind,
She reaches down my forehead
To just above my nose, then presses fingertips
Against my brows to slowly lift them up.

At this I grin, nearly purring
In order to encourage her,
And because I wish to,
Lightly groaning with pleasure.
Anita knows about Henry. (I long ago showed her his photo.)
Draping colorful cloth over my upper body to start,
She always inquires of his health. When I leave she remarks
“Say hello to Henry.” When I get home I quote to him her words.