• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 08

Alley Cat’s Anthem

Pedigree for a feline comes
with fancy bells, cerulean blue,
mango peach leash, heart-shaped
tags, plush pillowy beds, one’s
own private box for necessities.
Pedigree comes with strings,
bundled yarn, braided cords
snipped from packages
with next-day delivery
from premium pet boutiques.

in starched collar while Lady Claws
stares from her canvas, her oval
face coy, demanding, decked
in regal ruff and your Majesty’s
puffed sleeves, gem-laden
bodice, stitched diamond grids,
patterned geometric certainty,
finality, eternity, sovereignty.

In domesticis cattus lives long,
claws filed dull, housed in horizontal
and vertical lines, while some cats
shuck off Latin honors, turn
their backs on ma and pa acts,
on starched collars, heavy jewels
(preferring to keep their own) and small talk.
Oh, the waste of that fettered wildness to lord
it over a wasteland, to reign in a desert.


Alley Cat’s Anthem

Gone prodigal, the black cat of the family
sits outside the box of parental frames, casts
a curved black shadow over daddy’s parade,
draws a charcoal line, a slick S that slides,
slips, escapes crisscrossed boarded walls,
stares at the photographer and dares her
to cross over, to admire, but not touch,
the feline’s felt back, to cast off, cat-like,
rectilinear decrees, to come sing, yowl
raucous love songs in a moonstruck alley.