The Sompolinsky family took up a whole city block.
And in every room hung an antique cuckoo clock.
There were aunts and uncles and cousins galore.
Keeping track of each one was an impossible chore.
One day Papa Sompolinsky gave his head a scratch,
“Mama,” he said, “Do my socks match?”
“No dear,” Mama laughed, “How colorblind are you?
One sock is green and the other sock’s blue.”
After Papa got dressed, he headed for the door,
Tripping over the toys scattered on the floor.
All twelve of the children stood in a row,
From tallest to shortest and toe-to-toe.
“Goodbye, Papa!” his children all said,
As he stooped and planted a kiss on each head.
“Hurry!” said Papa, “I don’t want to be late.
Why…. Look… It’s already half-past eight.”
As Papa headed off in a mad dash to work,
He heard a noise and turned with a jerk.
There at the back of the van sat their cat.
Licking her paws and looking quite fat.
“Oh, no!” muttered Papa, “This just cannot be.
That cat should be home, not in here with me.”
“Shoo cat! You just cannot stay.
Off with you now, go home right away!”
Meanwhile at home the children were calling.
“Miss Mittens is lost!” they all started bawling.
“Here kitty, kitty, come drink some cream.
You know how you like to lick the bowl clean.”
But precious Miss Mittens never appeared,
For her safe return they greatly feared.
Mama then called, “It’s time for bed.”
The children marched slowly hanging their heads.
As Mama tucked each child in bed with care,
They folded their hands and whispered a prayer.
“Dear God, be with Miss Mittens tonight.
And please bring her home by the morning light.”
When Papa’s factory shift was all done,
He drove in his van toward the rising sun.
All of a sudden his heart skipped a beat.
There lay Miss Mittens on the side of the street.
Looking quite lifeless and squished really flat,
A tear filled his eye when he scooped up their cat.
He hurried home before his children did wake.
And to the backyard took a shovel and rake.
He buried Miss Mittens out under the tree,
Hoping that none of his children would see.
At breakfast that morning while Mama was cooking,
All twelve of the children were outside and looking.
“Papa,” they asked, “have you seen our cat?”
He replied with a moan, “I know where she’s at.”
And to their backyard, they all took a walk.
Papa stammered and stuttered when he started to talk.
“I just want to say, I knew it was her.
No other cat has her gray-colored fur.”
For three days and nights fresh flowers were carried,
To the backyard where Miss Mittens was buried.
Then one afternoon as the children stood playing.
They could not believe what their Mama was saying.
“Miss Mittens is back! How can this be?
She’s in the backyard, out under the tree!”
Papa opened the window and gave out a shout,
“Tell me what is all the commotion’s about?”
He couldn’t believe what his tired eyes saw.
There sat Miss Mittens licking her paw.
Papa declared, “Why, merciful me!
If Miss Mittens is here, who’s under the tree?”
Glaring at Papa, Mama frowned and said,
“Miss Mittens is alive, some other cat is dead.”
“A cat cemetery is all that we need,
With all these hungry children to feed.”
First, came a giggle and then a tee hee,
Laughter consumed the whole family.
“It’s Papa’s eyes!” Mama said with a grin
They have caused all this trouble we’re in.”
“Brown is black and blue is green.
He’s buried a cat that we’ve never seen.”
They laughed and laughed until they all cried.
They never forgot the day Miss Mittens died.
That night as Papa to work drove away.
At the back of van purred a gray stowaway.
This silly, true story is part of their history.
The cat under the tree still remains a mystery.
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