pricking her conscience

at the hat factory
where my second
and third
and forty-fifth
cousins
removed faraway
by some fairytale marriage
stood a lion
I was warned
not to touch.

but I went ahead
while the dog
sipped brandy
and rolled
in sewage
for three hours
and I recovered
my hand
and counted to three,
bleeding.

she was just
a bit dusty
and I wanted
to give her a bath
out of
hot water
as flowers
in the front
so cried
and needles murmured.

*Cat No. 34 of the 500 Cats Project

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