You have survived January nights at 30 below
dodged trucks careening down back alleys
sensed bogus treats of antifreeze
eluded budding psychos who would duct tape your legs together
and leave you on the railway tracks.
Your coat is ginger clotted hairballs
raised bloody scars criss-cross your broad skull with its ragged ears.
Your ribs show and your belly is slack so you accept the food
warily at first, then gulp it down
to look behind you.
Then you are off to familiar haunts of alleys and derelict buildings
rife with predators
stronger and bigger than you.
But your claws are still sharp, teeth like needles and legs supple to carry
you away from danger.
And you will live to fight another day.