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Alley Cat Love Song

Come into the garden, Fred,
For the neighborhood tabby is gone.
Come into the garden, Fred.
I have nothing but my flea collar on,
And the scent of catnip has gone to my head.
I'll wait by the screen door till dawn.

The fireflies court in the sweetgum tree.
The nightjar calls from the pine,
And she seems to say in her rhapsody,
"Oh, mustard-brown Fred, be mine!"
The full moon lights my whiskers afire,
And the fur goes erect on my spine.

I hear the frogs in the muddy lake
Croaking from shore to shore.
They've one swift season to soothe their ache.
In autumn they sing no more.
So ignore me now, and you'll hear my meow
As I scratch all night at the door.

—Dana Gioia

from Interrogations at Noon, 2001
Graywolf Press, St. Paul, MN

Copyright 2001 by Dana Gioia.
All rights reserved.

Reprinted by permission of Graywolf Press from Interrogations at Noon. Copyright 2001 by Dana Gioia. For further permissions information, contact Katie Dublinski, Editor, Graywolf Press, 2402 University Avenue, Suite 203, St. Paul, MN 55114, Fax 651-641-0036.

Poetry 180

About the Poet

Dana Gioia (1950- ) served as chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts from 2003 to 2008. The author of the seminal essay “Can Poetry Matter?”, Gioia has published four poetry collections, including Pity the Beautiful (Graywolf Press, 2012).

Learn more about Dana Gioia at The Poetry Foundation.