October 2, 2010


I washed the Honda Odyssey
just yesterday-and now
the bumper’s splattered.
I dread the clean-up process.

Surveying the wreckage, I try to
recall the last time I witnessed
any expression on your pyrite face.
The trail of tears was absent
at your mother’s burial,
so why is your salt spilling
on the tabby's mangled body?

Fascinated, I study the feline's
anatomy: crushed skull bone,
intestines strewn across the
steaming pavement.

I wonder: should I be touched,
or annoyed by the tears that
dampen your graying beard?

I wrap the tabby in a
flowered picnic blanket
that hides the matted fur.
And from the right angle,
she looks peaceful.

stephanie gustafson (St. Paul, MN, 1988)