He was a lean, small black cat walking alone in the projects.
I watched him as he'd dart from bush to bush, then suddenly stop for a moment.
Then he saw me.
At first he wasn't sure enough to come near my porch.
I left a bowl out that evening. I knew he was walking through nuclear waste.
It was seeping from the ground by the creek in Tonawanda in increments.
Everyone knew it.
No one would clean it up.
Safer to leave it to the gardens of those living in the townhouses;
The old housing for the families of World War II factory workers.
My black feral knew nothing of this; only that he found a friend.
It was near Halloween, and he lived in a desperate area, flanking
gangs, drugged out school kids, and a kill-shelter -
not a good place for an unwanted young cat.
I'd watch for him and called him Angel Dust,
after stories I heard of workers in the local chemical plants in the 1940s
who had lived in the same projects I lived in now.
The women would bring nuclear waste home with them unknowingly.
Familes laughed as the women would spin and glow after dinner,
dancing as if covered with angel dust.
I was living in a place where the landlord did crack in his garage;
And screamed epitaphs at the neighbors and me.
Dangerous times – I had to leave.
I left Angel Dust under a bush with food and water.
He didn't look well - I wasn't well myself.
I was running again - with nothing but my car and animals.
He wouldn't let me touch him.
I let a feral friend know he was there and said goodbye.
I still count the ferals I've left behind
while trying to pick up the pieces of my broken life.
Yet, when the sky is clear, I take the time to watch the stars dance
like angel dust and hope he's well…