Now that he's gone, I find it hard
To keep my mind from dwelling on his character.

No cat before showed such devotion to his task.
Hunter by name and occupation,
He was a gopher getter extraordinaire.

Round and firm his body was, with barrel sides,
Long legs, and plush pads on oversize paws.

He was a Bombay black with shiny coat
And one small tuft of white fur on his belly.
His head would nod as he trotted by.

His kind eyes were emerald green
With lines drawn on the irises, like veins
Of minerals running through a polished rock.

He slept on a blanket in the living room,
Snoring loudly in the early hours of the evening.

Sometimes he would bivouac in the backyard,
Curling up in a covered basket provided by Gail.

I'd reach my hand through the flap
To rouse him out of bed in the morning.

Other nights he stood guard in the front yard,
Waiting for a vole or gopher to come out in the open.

Colleen was his truest love.
He slept on a white blanket spread on top of her bed,
Until she found she was allergic to his oily fur.

When he grew weak and knew his time was almost up,
He went to her room and hid under her bed.
He wanted to be near her at the end.

Hunter was a loyal cat,
A loving soul, and a keeper of the grounds.

We won't be able to replace him—
It's like losing our cat Friday.

We're lucky that we found him when we did,
And that he stayed with us for five good years.

He was the older brother to our younger Buttercup,
Protecting her when he could
From the aggressive stray, Arthur, we adopted.

He never learned to meow at the door,
Always scratching instead
To let us know he wanted to come inside.

Sometimes he grumbled when I let him in,
As if to say the service was deficient.
Most of the time he was a gentle, perfect knight.

©2016 Michael Fraley

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