By Richard Allen

Featured Art: The cat at play, c.1860-1878 by Henriëtte Ronner

dead cat on the shoulder
my heart aches for a moment
until I realize it is only
a balled-up pair of sweatpants

why would I feel compassion
were it a cat lying dead there
and not a balled-up
pair of sweatpants

I think it is because
cats are defenseless
and innocent then
I re-evaluate

they are neither
the average housecat
has injured several people
in its short life

just for laughs
the person who had to throw
his sweatpants out the window
a moment’s thought for him

for his sweatpants
and for the sad conflict
that must have unfolded
between them

Richard Allen’s work has appeared in SalonMcSweeney’s, and in Another and Another: An Anthology From the Grind Writing Series (Bull City Press). He lives in North Carolina.

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