In anticipation of the home birth,
we line a cardboard box
with a blanket, soft as sleep
and place it open on its side
just off the garden path.

The boys and I keep a respectful
distance, crouch down on a lawn
teeming with daisies, humming
with life. We marvel as each kitten
slithers out between short strained intervals.

The queen gently claws
each amniotic sac, chews through
the umbilical cords, licks
her babies clean. She eats
the placentas to expunge the air

of predatory temptation,
as instinctively they milk step
her swollen belly, blind and ravenous
in the summer air, thick with
honeysuckle and promise.