Nightly Visit

Nightly Visit

Like those of a recluse aunt, both cloistered and suspicious,
her midnight visits to our house have hardly been auspicious.
Under the mask of darkness, she ends her nightly wait.
Inching along the garden wall to circumvent the gate,
far above the threat of jaws and the dog’s wild bark,
she comes for nightly dining in the protective dark.

The cats’ leftover kibble is her nightly fare.
She comes in brief installments, until the bowl is bare.
I hear her loud enjoyment, the bowl’s scrape and the crunching,
intent on my midnight screen, I can’t resist her munching.
I steal across the tile floor, shoeless in my glide.
How can she know I’m coming, sealed as I am, inside?

Furtive, I reach the door and hear her final mastication.
But all I capture when I look is her evacuation.
She cannot hear or see me, a glass door in between,
the whole room dark behind me, yet she remains unseen.
Just one time in the dozens I think that I may
have born witness to her shadow before she slipped away.

In the lamplight’s subtle glow, I thought I saw a tail
and a mounded body obscured my nighttime’s veil.
I snapped an unlit photo and it is it alone
that bears witness to the possum outlined against the stone.
She glides so silently away to some handy location,
waiting for my departure to resume her mastication.

I know that she’s no midnight dream, no figment of delusion.
She’s that shy part of our family who prefers her seclusion.
Within my nightly flood of words she’s a welcome diversion.
I welcome that slightly mystery brought on by her incursion.

I don’t hold it against her, this  hide-and-seek revival,
as I pour a bit more kibble out to insure her survival.

 

Is it only my imagination, or can you, too, make out the mound of her body and a long, slender curled tail in the shadows of this photo—just behind the dish?

dPrompt words today are mask, auspicious, laud and family.

35 thoughts on “Nightly Visit

  1. SAM VOELKER

    I really like both the poem and the message, also as often happens with one of your poems or post, it also happened to me last night. I closed the doggy doors not knowing that Coco, my almost feral cat was still out “hunting”. Now both cats would rather come in through the “people door” anyway, because a favorite joke all three play on each other is to pounce on another when they are coming through that small flapped doggy door.

    So last night a weird thing happened~! I have a bright action activated light pointing toward and flooding my front door. I was watching the news in bed, and kept seeing a bright light going on and off, lighting up the sitting room. I got up and found that it was that flood light shining through the door window. I looked out and saw nothing, then it went out after the usual 20 seconds, I turned around to go back to bed, and it flashed on again. Quickly looking through the door window there was Coco, standing there looking toward the door, the light went off and she exited the area then quickly re-entered it, turning the light back on…. Animals do have “reason” and are smarter, more than we credit them for…. She was signaling me with that light that she needed to be let in~! Dumb me, smart cat~! Well that is also better than the deep groves on the door where Tami scratches to signal me, maybe she can learn to use that semaphore too~!

    PS: get one of those lights, they are nice when you have forgotten to leave the night light on when exiting, and need to find that tiny keyhole~! Also it is nice for the night raider to find the leftover dog food, even if they do have night vision, and your photo of them will be better for us to make out what the culprit is~!

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    1. lifelessons Post author

      If the light came on, she would silently slip away. My light comes on outside the door automatically when the sun goes down and stays on until sunrise. If doesn’t bother her. Nor does the kitchen light, unless one goes off or on while she is present. Then she flees. I have those deep grooves on my door from the doggie domain to my house. Diego insists of jumping up and scraping it with his claws from glass to floor and has not only scraped all the pain off the metal door, but also scraped grooves in the handmade terracotta tiles I had made as inlays in the door. I cannot break him of this habit.

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      1. SAM VOELKER

        Oh we had a small dog when our oldest son was born, Shirley decided that we should not have a dog inside at night with the baby, so I built a nice dog house out in the back yard for her, with a warm light inside. But she wanted to be back in with us, and would run very fast across the back jumping into the air and banging with all four feet on the screen door. It made a very loud banging noise and I could not stop her by fussing at her. But a sadistic idea came to me… I took a piece of plywood and put small tacks sticking out about a 1/16 inch out the other side, not enough to really hurt but enough to let her know it was there. I nailed this to the door and that first night she hit it only once, and never hit that door again. Soon Cass (Casimir) was old enough to let her back inside where she watched over him at night. I felt bad about this, but when she would hit that door, it was so loud that lights went on in neighbors homes and would even wake us up inside~! I was never owned by a large dog, having been attacked by one when I was in school.

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  2. slmret

    I love this — although I got all the way through and didn’t realize that it was a possum until I saw the list of tags. It’s a long time since I’ve seen possums — when I first moved here, they came by every night.

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  3. judyreeveswriter

    I love the mystery and tension of this poem. And rhyming mastication and evacuation. I can’t make out the creature in your photo, but have also witnessed a midnight visitation of such a phantom.

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    1. lifelessons Post author

      I once saw a baby possum hanging by its tail from the bougainvillea as I walked from the garage to the kitchen door. Such a thrill. I worry about the dogs killing them, though. The cats seem to not bother them.

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  4. Mason Bushell

    I always enjoy a story in poetic form. This is really a very clever and wonderful poem about the wanderings of the cat. You don’t expect it to be a cat until the end either, Well done Judy.

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            1. Mason Bushell

              I soet of did for a good portion of poem although instinct said it wasn’t. Only the last few lines really snapped me into it being cat and I was still wrong lol.

              I think the slinking along the fence above the barking dogs nade ne think cat more than anything.

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      1. Relax...

        I used to feed stray cats on the deck, which attracted a stray ‘possum, too! Odd creatures, but this one was calm. I’ve read they clean up dead bugs & other detritus.

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