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Introducing: Cat Lady

This is a Book Introduction guest post from Mary M. Schmidt, introducing a short book in the form of a narrative poem, that takes place in a Roman feral cat colony with an all feline goat chorus. And if that doesn't hook you, read on... I think the rest of the introduction will!

Cat Lady
by Mary M. Schmidt
"Things are not always as they seem."
At first glance, Maria seems to be just an old woman of modest means, covered with cat hair, making her way on her walker to the feral cats colonies in the ruins of the Roman empire.  To the VIPs, the film stars and tourists, the jet-setters and Dolce Vita crowd, she is virtually invisible.  But to the feral cats, her visit is the high point of their day.
You may underestimate her, but do so at your own peril.  She has her connections, even in high places.  And a power that few are prepared to understand.
Now some, sensing her power but not understanding it, call her strega (witch) and turn away from her, in fear of evil.  Others know better.  Among her more unlikely connections is the great Cardinal Mezzaluna.  Much has been said about him in the media of late: that he's slightly ill but will recover, will be back soon.  In fact, he knows that the end of his life is near.  But he cannot go.  Not yet.  There is one thing he must still do in the world.  It seems impossible to accomplish.  There is only one slim chance it can be done, one person who might be able to do this.  The Cat Lady.  Call on the Cat Lady.
What can Maria do that some find so strange and disturbing?  The answer to the question is another question.  Did you ever love someone completely, and then were forced to part from that one?  If this is so, and your love was so strong it left a permanent imprint on the soul of the other, The Cat Lady can find the one you love.  She can read the imprint.  (Yes, even Cardinal Mezzaluna, long ago, fell in love with a Jersey girl. She loved him, too.  The Cat Lady will handle this with extreme discretion, as she reminds us, "For some might seek to make a scandal/Flare up like a Roman candle.")
It won't.  What will happen is: a high-ranking cardinal and a humble cat lady will discuss this in an American idiom that scans and rhymes.  (This is no more odd than two people falling in love, she speaks no English, he speaks no Japanese, but they both sing in Italian.  Cool!)  The Cat Lady, discerning his own imprint, will then cross the Atlantic Ocean to find the matching imprint.  (Don't worry, she will, she never fails.)
Indeed, things are not always as they seem.  The most self-important of the VIPs turn out to be the most useless.  The real power is in the hands and paws of Cat Lady and her ferals.  Do not be tricked by what is on the surface.  For those who truly love, nothing is impossible. other thing.  If you wear a Hawaiian shirt to the Roman Forum, especially with ugly shorts, prepare to be pounced!
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