Friday, January 18, 2013




Amanda in her many stripes
curls and exposes her belly,
eager for pets. Her sister,
a shy calico, the beauty
of the family, hunkers
at a water dish, wary of me.
The corridor is too narrow,
but it’s home to twenty cats.

Angel lived here, and Gemini.
Angel sneered at everyone.
Gemini, calico angora,
climbed my trouser leg
and slept in the crook of my arm
as I dished out food to the others.
When someone adopted her
my inner organs clenched. Angel,

also taken, left a fistula
only slightly smaller. Months
have passed, and Amanda still poses
for the attention she needs.
Vacuuming, dumping litter,
washing and bleaching dishes,
restocking food, towels, water
take time, leaving few moments

for stroking and playing with friends.
Amanda wants to come home with me,
wants her sister to tag along.
When I turn off the lights only
the window at the far end glows
with twilight. Amanda’s eyes flick
silver a moment, then close
as she coils into herself, grieving.

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