My mom and dad came into town
To visit for a spell,
To see our house—upstairs and down—
And make sure we were well.
We drove around the neighborhood,
Played games, relaxed, and walked;
At restaurants, both bad and good,
We ate and laughed and talked.
Our entertainment Friday night
Was baseball, food, and brew—
An urban, major league delight,
With chips and nachos, too!
We had to leave late afternoon
To eat our dinner there;
Though time to go came all-to-soon,
We really didn’t care,
For ball games were a special treat,
Enjoyed by one and all,
And, next to them, we liked to eat,
So, umpire, yell, “Play ball!”
Our cats were indoor-outdoor pets
Who came inside at night,
A practice not approved by vets
That suited them just right.
Cat one was Buddha, Tonkinese.
Musashi was cat two—
Inquisitive, not quick to please,
A Burmese through-and-through.
It was, of course, a summer’s day,
So sunset came quite late;
The sky, though bright, was tinged with gray
And filled with clouds of slate.
We called the cats to come on home,
And Buddha, as he should,
Came in, but Mushi chose to roam
About the neighborhood.
Again, we shouted out the door,
But no Musashi came;
With worried voice, we called once more,
Then left to see the game.
Arriving at the baseball park,
We bought our food to eat;
The field was bright, but clouds were dark
As each one took his seat.
The anthem of our nation sung,
The contest could begin—
The pitchers hurled; the batters swung
At changeups, heat, and spin.
The game had not gone on too long
When rain and hail came down;
The thunderstorm was very strong
And blanketed the town.
This caused a lengthy rain delay,
Yet, when the play resumed,
Nine innings could be played that day,
Though dark clouds ever loomed.
When back to home we headed out,
Musashi came to mind;
He filled our thoughts with fear and doubt
About what we would find.
No cat was on the windowsill,
Nor by the kitchen door,
And so we stayed awake until
We couldn’t anymore.
We called our cat on Saturday
And sent out Buddha, too,
To seek Musashi, while at play,
And bring him home anew.
We asked the shelters and police
About what we should do;
We pled they’d watch for our Burmese
And hoped they’d follow through.
I made a poster and an ad
About our missing pet;
All said they thought them not too bad
For pole and Post-Gazette.
On every pole for blocks around,
A poster I applied.
“These are not legal if they’re found,”
Cops said, when they were spied.
And so, I started out and walked
From house to house in turn;
I showed my poster, and I talked
To see what I could learn.
Most talks I had were just dead ends,
But some things I found out—
Musashi had a lot of friends
I had not known about.
On Wednesday morn, my parents left
And wished us all good luck;
They hoped we weren’t of hope bereft,
Although our search was stuck.
The days slipped by—as slip they will—
Yet, every day at dawn,
I looked upon the windowsill,
My fleeting hope fast gone.
What could have happened here? we thought;
Could he have run away?
Had all our love been all for naught?
Alas, we could not say.
That night, she’d heard Musashi’s cry,
The mom next door confessed;
She had not thought to question why
Our cat should be distressed.
Musashi might have lost his way
While caught out in the rain;
Why, on the porch, he did not stay
We just could not explain.
We wondered, was our cat purloined,
Or trapped inside a shed,
From movement, by a wound enjoined,
Or, maybe, even dead?
In yet another interview,
A woman down the street
Suggested that, to follow through,
The “Cat Lady” I meet.
From Europe came this “Lady” hence
To residence quite near,
A trim, old farmhouse without fence,
Where art was her career.
She took in strays that ambled by—
Her dog was one of these—
And so she seemed a good ally,
With feline expertise.
I left a poster, moving on
To places I’d not been.
Had our Musashi this way gone?
Was he close by, within?
Another day, my son and I
Explored the nearby wood;
We saw no cat, though birds flew by,
And deer, while staring, stood.
I wasn’t ready to allow
Our cat would not be found;
I longed to hear his soft meow,
An oddly duck-like sound.
One day, the artist called to say
That, by the supermart,
She’d seen a cat that ran away
Behind a shopping cart.
I soon was in that parking lot,
Beside a grassy slope;
It seemed a quite unlikely spot
To kindle any hope.
I looked both up and down the hill
And also left and right;
I squinted, looked again, and still
No Mushi was in sight.
A church atop the hill was set,
And so I went to that,
Where, briefly, with the staff I met
To ask about our cat.
In retrospect, I do believe,
The cat that caused the call
Our caller did, in fact, deceive
And wasn’t ours at all.
The site was very far from home,
And prospects weren’t good
A cat so far away might roam
From his own neighborhood.
My residential interviews
Got farther from our street;
I sought in vain for useful clues
From those I chanced to meet.
One Friday, as the sky turned dark,
My “Cat” friend called to say
She’d seen Musashi in a park
A few short blocks away.
That park had been unknown to me,
So out the door I flew.
Was our cat there and roaming free
Because I never knew?
It was a lovely little place,
With trees on either side,
With more than ample wooded space
For runaways to hide.
I walked around the line of trees
And called Musashi’s name;
I called on foot and on my knees,
But no Musashi came.
So back across the boulevard
I trudged in dark despair;
The search was getting very hard
To carry on and bear.
Next day, I searched the park once more
To quite the same effect,
And, sadly, through the kitchen door,
Came home, once I had checked.
I, at the kitchen counter, sat
At noon that day for lunch;
What next to do to find our cat,
I hadn’t any hunch.
Quite suddenly, I was agape
And, for a moment, still,
When that familiar sable shape
Jumped on the windowsill.
Musashi had come back as though
He’d never been away,
As if he’d not left weeks ago,
But only yesterday.
I rushed to open up the door,
And in Musashi came;
With nonchalance he crossed the floor,
His homestead to reclaim.
I yelled for all to come and see
Musashi had returned;
I pondered this with heartfelt glee
And wondered what he’d learned.
He chattered on as if to tell
Of all that he had done—
To reassure us he’d been well
And had a lot of fun.
When Buddha saw his cousin-cat,
I thought he’d lick his chum;
Instead, he only hissed and spat
For days and days to come.
I gave Musashi tuna fish,
His favorite before;
In no time, he had cleaned his dish
And cried for even more.
I hugged Musashi close to me—
He’d lost a pound or two—
But wasn’t hurt, that I could see—
A fervent prayer come true!
Musashi spent the night in bed
Between my wife and me;
We wanted to allay all dread
And sweet dreams oversee.
Where Mushi went, we’ll never know,
Although he tried to say;
But since that time, now years ago,
He’s never run away.