poetry and poets

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

cats & dogs

cats & dogs
tony gallucci

Murdoch slept through all night yips and yawns
of a half dozen bluetick hounds
not-so-country grandboys woke constantly,
yipped ourselves across cold Saltillo tile floors

it’s the noise stirs them, grandpa said, mockingbirds,
avocados thumping on the hard valley dirt,
rustle of leaves, nothing but scaredy-cat old dogs
it’s the smell that wakes them up, woke him up

he’d shot a jaguar once, hounds bawling in the Tamaulipas
cloud forest dim, cat after a new milk calf tied to a post
revolution drove the cats south, Murdoch north barely
four dog generations ago

one night, June of ’66, when the blues let loose
he was up with a 12 gauge before we could
wipe the dirt from our eyes, we watched through the
kitchen window as he stalked the barnyard

an oncillo, he thought, looking for chickens, just a guess
he chunked at us that night, or maybe a bobcat,
gato del monte, he called it, stalking the peahen in the pecan
the next morning wisdom ran with the guineas

grandpa couldn’t find the tan kid goat or an excuse,
nor explain the footprints by the barn, size of pancakes
no missing that look on his face, we’d seen it a thousand
times in that picture of him at 20 with that jaguar hanging
next to two old hounds

Published in The Texas Poetry Calendar 2002, Flying Cow Press