In children’s stories grayed by time’s page-turning hand
black cats belong to witches who lure kiddies
into their cottages with twisted stripes of unlicked candy canes,
to forbidden allyeways where gambling halls and greasy fingers
lurk and wait to steal away society’s youth.
If you spy a feline cursed with a bewitched black coat,
superstition teaches you to cross the street,
pretend it was a shadow or a ghost.
In real life, black cats trade their devil horns for sweet pink tongues
to kiss you on the cheek when they’re sure you’re not looking.
My little, black cat trills
hello with a musical flare,
singing mewling melodies for extra Temptations treats and ear scratches.
Instead of bringing bubonic plague to our doorstep,
my little, black cat scavenges for catnip-rich sloths,
long-dead fabric mice, cottony Q-tip swabs,
and abandoned Lego bricks in our home’s crevices
to gift to us while we sleep nestled in our beds,
so we wake to trinkets of serendipity
strewn like scattered wildflowers across our bedroom floors.
My little, black cat crosses his front paws in armchairs, gazing
into some imagined world where fireworks
whisper shades of red and gold to a silent sky.
My little, black cat knows the secret spell
to transform bawling tears into sunshine smiles
with a cheery meow and friendly nuzzle.
The next time an ebony-cloaked kitten greets you on a city block,
cast aside your talismans,
your shamrocks and rabbits’ feet,
for black cats are the luckiest charms in this unnlucky world.