I want to be like Muriel.  

She comes to the animal shelter
to love on cats.  Some of them
are crooked, listing to one side,
slow in getting up, lying down,
but purring in the sun bathing
them through wide windows.  

Muriel lists, too, all ninety pounds
of her.  One shoulder sits lower
than the other, bones burst sharp
through skin embroidered with
wrinkles & dappled with age
spots, hair grey as oysters, pearled
with slivers of silver, a shaggy
moon in the making.  

The shelter cats have faith
that food will come every morning,
every evening, that love will be
doled out by a variety of palms
& fingers & crooning voices,
that night & day will take turns.  

Muriel has faith, too, that she will
amble in every Friday evening,
bend her tired body into sitting
on the floor, curl it around brown
tabbies & calicoes, sometimes nap
on cat beds, breath rising & falling
to the vibrato of felines vibrating
with contentedness.  

If I live to be eighty, I want to wind
my way through the happy cats I’ve
held for hours, mosey out the shelter
door, & stroll to my car under the night
sky, imbibing the stars whose light
comes to us again & again.