Shirlee Jellum

a tabby cat outside at sunset

When not reading or writing, Shirlee Jellum travels, backpacks, gardens and makes rhubarb wine. Her work has recently been published in Flash Fiction, Gleam, Memoirist, Honeyguide and Persimmon Tree.


Last Sunday I passed
a congregation of cats—
one calico, one grey, one black.
They sat in a perfect circle
still as statues
heads bowed, hunched backs,
tails wrapped around feet
staring at a patch of grass.

What prayer to the Master Cat
invoked these three
huddled in the morning sun—
perhaps a plan to catch their lunch
or divine protection from dog attacks
or better yet, perhaps they prayed
for softer fur or sweeter purr
or an invitation to a lap.

Whatever these cats contemplated—
no flitch of ear nor flick of tail
no hiss, meow or scratch—
betrayed their faith in meditation
this mass of cats
one Sunday afternoon.