little gray cat

comes, wraps her lithe

soft body around my back

arches her back, steps through

the arches of my legs

doesn’t mind I’m crying.

I pet her and she pushes against

me like crazy

starved for affection

people never knew she needed.

her purr is gone

she’s skittish of the world

startling at the truck rolling by

running away

stalking back

but feels safe with me

rolling over on her back

claws clinging to my jeans.

it’s okay, I tell her

I lost my purr too

I’m sure it will come back.

she bites me once

I jerk back hard, but

return my hand

I know what it’s like to not

want to be touched even as

you’re starving for it

finding it hard to believe

you’re safe

even when you are,

thumb soothing

the velvet fur

above her nose.

she settles down and licks herself

at my feet

and we sit and watch

the leaves curling bright

on the sidewalk together

the cat and me.

then, as I say I have to go

she jumps up on my lap

curls beneath my arm

a soft meow

as if to say

stay.

she sits and flicks her tail

white socks and a white tie

green eyes

watching me go.