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Old Cat

Illustrated by Maxwell Cummins, age 6, in January 2022 for the 97th birthday of Dr. Jim Cummins

Even after forty years of rustin’ under the old maple tree,
The Cat still squats, beautiful in its ugliness,
Ready to pull the world again.

Tracks sagging,
Grapevines lacing the radiator,
Wrapped around exhaust stack,
Everything dull red rust.

But the Old Cat makes me young again.
Young Cat, not rust red but golden yellow
In my memory’s eye,
Golden yellow,
And I’m a little boy again.

Little freckle-faced boy on Daddy’s knee,
Riding the beautiful ugly Golden Yellow Cat,
Riding the Yellow Cat,
Driving the Yellow Cat on Daddy’s knee.

Hands on steering handles, and Daddy’s hands on mine.
Pull the handle and we turn, we turn,
We circle like a hound chasin’ its tail.
Turn till Daddy’s hand on mine eases back the handle.

Driving the Yellow Cat ‘longside the highway,
Tracks clanking, digging divots in the grass.
I’m in the Yellow Cat and on my daddy’s knee,
And my world is a world of bliss.

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