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KILLING THE HOUSE CAT

Womb-wet, said Hoffman. Yes —
the drenched body newborn,
transformed, grotesque
as a cougar cub.
Drowning her is harder than you thought.
You clench your teeth, you

croon idiot lilts, unmeant
prayers, hold the straps
down, wonder if tooth or claw
will pierce the canvas.
It's over fast enough to be a gift.
A heft, a quick check

(because such a freedom is debt
until you embrace your work),
unzip the bag, see
the white claw rent from the foot,
climb the steps, leave
a trail that leads

to the expectancy
of skies, a hush of prey suddenly
solemn out of gossip.
Thorns pluck, something
stirs. You spade, return,
boots nailed down with clay.

Her soft shrug
as you zipped her in, her
body, blank in the cradled bag,
these drift to rooms no animal can enter —
though they can peer, tongue
lolling, through the glass.

      — Blake Kritzberg