Our neighborhood stray is dead. I know this
because there is a black cat here I've never seen.
This cat is not the black splotch covered canvas stray
that clawed up and down my arm last winter
when I mistakenly tried to wrap it in a blanket
for warmth. This cat does not have the matted
fur that the stray did, does not deliberately stretch
out in front of my car tires the way the stray did
right before I had to leave for work, does not
chase lizards in the grass like the stray. This is not
the stray that aggressively meowed at me
when he wanted affection, nor is it the stray
that climbed our fence to try catching birds.
I'm certain this new cat must be lost, or else
looking for that same blotched canvas stray
that had become part of his family, too.