Donal Mahoney


The Widow Murphy Sets Her Cap


Mrs. Ryan keeps her cat inside at night
but lets it out at dawn to go anywhere it likes
while she's at work. Every day the cat

crosses the road to call on the Widow Murphy.
Mrs. Ryan doesn't know her cat calls on Mrs. Murphy
but she has told the widow twice her cat is on a diet:

a little kibble in the morning and a little water at night.
Nothing else. When the cat arrives at Mrs. Murphy's,
the widow lets him in and gives him warm milk

and a dollop of salmon on a porcelain saucer.
Afterward the cat takes a long nap on a Persian rug till
the widow lets him out in the afternoon

to cross the road and wait for Mrs. Ryan
to pull her Lincoln into the driveway.
Mrs. Ryan's husband, Paddy, now retired,

has never called on the Widow Murphy.
He doesn't know the widow's waiting.
Paddy likes his tea strong, his wife once said.

Submitted: Wednesday, February 13, 2013

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