By Eric Greinke

When I was eight, after Dad left,

my mother got me a kitten.

I named him after a famous mouse.

He was black & white, & very cute.

I’d hurry home after school

to find him waiting to play.

Full-grown, he fought the other male cats,

heroically defending his territory

from atop a garden fence post.

Everyone was amazed that he came to me

when I called him from the front porch.

He came, reliably, on the first call.


After a few years, another big cat

became a serious territorial contender.

Mickey began to come back with chewed up ears,

or with open bite wounds on his neck.

Although he often lost, he never quit.

He still came faithfully when I called.

Then one dark evening in late summer

I called him but he didn’t come right away.

Then a raw cat moan came from the bushes.

He’d dragged himself there, a bloody mess.

Mother took him to the vet but returned alone.

I named the next kitten Buddy, after my father.




Eric Greinke‘s most recent books are Poets In Review and Zen Duende – Collaborative Poems (with Glenna Luschei).   His collaborative poem, Lone Bones (from Zen Duende, published originally in Forge 9.2), has received a 2017 Pushcart Prize. His work has been published in The Aurorean, California Quarterly, The Delaware Poetry Review, Gargoyle, Ginyu (Japan), The Green Door (Belgium), The Hurricane Review, The Journal (UK), Main Street Rag, New York Quarterly, Paterson Literary Review, The Pedestal Magazine, Poem, Prosopisia (India), Schuylkill Valley Journal, The South Carolina Review, The University of Tampa Review, and many others.

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