Not My Cat

as I turned onto my road
my headlights flashed against
the corner snow bank
setting off her diamond encrusted coat
of black fur, white paws
she lay still on her side
stared at my house
and except for the cold
looked quite comfortable

too tired from my trip
I let her stay just one more night
on the frozen down of snow
allowing the milling stars above
an extended wake

I tried to sleep too
but a sense of betrayal
that seeped in through the drafty window
and the poorly insulated wall
nudged me through the night

I stood next morning
shovel in hand
and studied her once more
forced myself to feel less
because of her white paws
stained yellow
a stray
and hatless

I scooped her
along with a thin bed of snow and ice
that clung
in the world's eternal eagerness to reclaim
as if life were nothing
but a doomed custody battle

I lowered her to the hungry, palsied mouth
of the trash bag at my feet
hurrying before my daughters
might wake, and spy me out the window

“C” is for Cat, I thought
and worked her quickly, but awkwardly
into the bag
a purplish drool along her cat frown
stained a primary red on the snow
she was stiff with
jack frost's hasty taxidermy
comical and tragic both
even her tail was stubborn

I knotted the bag tight
kicked the red snow with my boot
rejoiced that I had done this
I didn't feel the full burden
of this private knowing
until I walked away from the barrel

It is only Saturday

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