The feral juniper cat
leaves tribute at my doorstep,
because I feed that scarred beast,
yet I won’t learn how to hunt.
I feel him glaring beneath the evergreens
as I bury another disheartened songbird
behind the iron trellis without a prayer
or a final toss up into the air
to see its plumage glisten.
It’s comforting to put on
a heavy, charcoal coat,
and boots with worn down soles.
The autumn queen does not
blush in flowered garlands,
but pulls up a woolen hood to veil
Grizzled hounds lead me down
sodden leaves on a sloping asphalt path
to the footbridge that creaks like my knees.
A cardinal is singing in the cedars,
and sun sifts through to warm my face.
My gloved finger catches the rim
of a shiny dime in my pocket, and
I cast it into ceaseless currents,
but that’s not enough
to pay the toll.