One For Sorrow

One for sorrow,
Two for joy,
Three for a girl,
Four for a boy,
Five for silver,
Six for gold,
Seven for a secret
Never to be told.

I walked the whole way.

I walked there, through the suburbs (car almost hit me! cat terror, screeching) ducked across. Over the bridge, wooden. The brook seethed under me.

Walked more. A clearing, stones, water. Thorn branches almost snagged me. But I'm too careful.

A pack of teenage boys. Staring at me, my carriage, my proud line of walk. Neck erect. I walked further, and I was thinking of dreams and reality and wondering where would the trail end. A man and his wife.

Both old. Old, old, old. "What are children coming to these days?"

"My dear, I really couldn't say."

Feet slip-slide over icy wooden bridge, more bridge, keep walking. Acorns, traction, small birds: outside some children are playing basketball. One, two, three. I pull the skin off me, feel the fur beneath, smiling. The old man and his wife are behind me.

At the end of the trail I turned: a convenient store, a jogger in tight Spandex pants. They were still in front of me. "How are the taxes going, darling?"

I ran ahead of them. "Adolescents. Impatient." The old man nodded, his shrewish wife still chattering. I ran. I was ahead.

Bunched my legs: bird-nest above! Spring. A paw catches the branch above. Keep walking. I almost pounce at a thorn branch, but change my mind. Instead paws leap for a young oak. (Maple?)

Ah! Behind the wooden barrier a squirrel. Poised I wait. It chitters. Once.

Leg bent knees curled ready spring go pounce forward—

and smash into the barrier, hanging over, trembling with rage. Snarl. The squirrel looks up, its cheeks bulging. My lips are pulled back.


The old man and his wife are closer now. I snarl one last time; unafraid, it moves away, in amusement. I stalk forward, racing over the dirt, through, catching small birds in a bush, moving, keep moving.

The brook is next to me now. I can find my way with the river.

Large black shape, close, lights on rooftop, on chimney. A crow. One for sorrow. Long talons, its wide black eyes shining at me before the sky is covered in black feather. The crow has left me.

One for sorrow.

I've got no need for sorrow. I am a cat.

Thank you, crow.

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