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The Cats of Rhodes

by Carrie Tuhy

CatinArmour

PHOTO VIA MEDIEVALIST ERRANT

 

The cats of Rhodes are black—and white;
White with a black tail,
One cat of Rhodes.
Poised, paralyzed, possessed,
Eyes fixed on a lizard descending the center wall,
He waits, then pounces and pounces again.
And again.

The cats of Rhodes are tri-colored, and variegated:
Black and white and smoky gray,
Caramel, calico, tangerine.
They sit, they sprawl, spreading out
fc075511-b4db-460d-8248-d56b4771065cOn car tops and stone paths
Heated by the Mediterranean sun,
Even in October winds.

The cats of Rhodes are furry, furtive creatures,
Hiding in shadowy corners, under arches,
Perched on pebbled stoops of shuttered houses,
Asleep among the bustling caverns of merchant kiosks.
They are the tourists who never leave;
The ship-less hordes freed of hurry.
They rule this empire of mythic gods,
This island kingdom born of Aegean waves,
All verdant beauty now.

IMG_0879bThe cats of Rhodes are the Knights of St. John—
Without a crusade.
Lazy, grazing, scavenging.
Feed me, they purr
To food sellers hungry for more human customers.
I am the connoisseur of your kitchen.
Throw me your scraps, and I will feast,
Cries the white cat with the black tail.

The cats of Rhodes recline in sun-kissed splendor,
Tummies turned skyward, mouths agape—
All tiny teeth and curling tongues,
Tails swaying slowly, back and forth.
They rise and stretch–primp and preen for greedy photographers.
Then strut, a parade of kittens in their wake
Until one halts—frozen, eagle-eyed, on guard.
He waits, and waits,
And waits some more
For another elusive lizard.
_______________

45153588_1434142383401925_5613475672656707584_nCarrie Tuhy (top row, third cat from right) wrote and performed ‘The Cats of Rhodes’ to saxophone accompaniment during her stay at The Three Seas Writers’ Retreat in Rhodes, Greece, sponsored by Harvard Square Editions, the Three Seas organization and the Municipality of Rhodes.

Carrie TuhyCarrie is a long-time journalist who spent many years at Time Inc. as a magazine editor. Along with her positions at LIFE, Money and InStyle, she was also editor-in-chief of Real Simple where she published many accomplished fiction writers. She has also reviewed both fiction and non-fiction tiles for Publishers Weekly as well as having written author profiles including interviews with Joan Didion, Joyce Carol Oates and Robert Gottlieb, the former editor of the New Yorker. She is currently working on a book with the working title Second Lives of Women.

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