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When our black cat lay dead

at the foot of the crooked mailbox,

her sister circled nearby in the trees.

Three days later, she too was gone.

I thought I’d heard before,

cats will disappear

when someone dies.

Often, in trees near our house,

we see hawks, hear crows,

sometimes, they fight.

There is a madness in the trees;

it resembles our own madness.

Like the funerals of crows,

their gathering in trees,

their communal mourning,

their many scold calls.

Have you heard them?

They go on like that

over their dead.

Coyotes also gather in sound;

their howls manic and frantic,

the way we imagine demons,

if there were demons.

There is a place in the trees

where everything disappears:

cats, crows, even coyotes.

It’s a dark mystery we dream,

the sounds coming to us on wind,

through lonely skies,

and brutal, beautiful trees.