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Headless field mice, gutted birds,
halves of bird, a ... rabbit?
(Must have been a rabbit.) One bedraggled turtle.
All, dead on your stoop over the past four months,
dead for love, killed by a stitch of pride stroking past your leg.

When conditions favor you to learn,
(i.e., you're frisky and playful)
your cat waits with live prey pinned down,
hopes you'll catch on,
scurry after mice to hook and chew.
But you only stroke her head, fuss,
Oh Sweetie, what have you brought me?
After some time your cat gets bored, watching you
watch mice scoot off to the lawn.
Still, you're surprised when, one morning,
your screendoor's jammed shut
by the body of a mangled real-estate broker.

No, you say, I'm not interested in This. —
but your cat continues deafly cleaning herself.
The next morning, the chain-link fence salesguy,
sans feet and hands. You decide,
time to reason with your cat.
On the step that night, you leave a bowl of milk,
your framed Jimmy Fund certificate
and your five gallon Red Cross pin.
She leaves the deacon.

Bodies continue to pile up and your cat,
seeing you handle the corpses,
hoping you get it, brings live prey.
What can you say?
Sorry, you tell the Boyscout trying to flop off your mat.
Through the steam wafting off the rips in the boy's back,
the cat raises her eyes patiently.
She's weary, spades her claws in and out,
in and out, thinks, Slow, man he's slow.

      — R.J. McCaffery