The day is drifting into night and
the heat leaching from the concrete
when I take the cats outside
for exercise and exploration.

One makes herself at home in the weeds,
hidden from prying eyes
to watch the neighborhood go by.
The other, startled, runs back to the door
for the promise of safety and solace. 

I lean back on the rough, heated concrete
and look up at the tree branch overhead
flowering, spread 
like some benevolent hand blessing me.

It’s quiet, my neighbors home,
either for the night or for social distance
until someone stops to ask directions.
The ever-inquisitive cat appears at my elbow
for attention or to back me up, I’m not sure.

Nagging itches at my wrist and shin
make me realize that if my neighbors 
are having dinner, the mosquitos are too.

So I herd the cat indoors, hoping
her  itch is taken care of
so that I can take care of mine.