“life”

oil and water
across your pavement.
I hear it’s called “life.”

let all suspense
enamor the thoughts
rustling in struck trees.

I watched as your sister
grabbed the sugar
and poured it down like morning milk.

she opened the door
just after you left
and clutched her sides, engorged.

you carried the hose
pointed at an angle
while she told you the diet worked.

Cat No. 50 of the 500 Cats Project

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the domestic disappointed

overexposed and burning.
at the cheekbones.
brow bones.
chicken bones.
elbows.

lint in milk
is the stuff
your cousin
so pretty, refined,
with her planner
so yellowed
in the urgencies
of a careerist
untouchable
and desired,
imagines, speaks,
lies about,
to raise their heads,
not wanting more.

intentionally worked.
at the shoulders.
folders.
smolders.
colder.

frayed bookbags
are the tears
your mother
too tired, resigned
to waiting at tables
so stained
in the throwaways
of old sangria
available
and cheap,
remarks, laments,
turns away,
to leave you looking,
hearing it all.

chastised and distrusted.
at the doorstep.
sordid.
distorted.
afforded.

you’ll never fold laundry
exactly how she’d like it.

but at least for once
you’ll meet those who won’t mind.

*Cat No. 36 of the 500 Cats Project

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