by Kerry Trautman

Was it cruel to have lured the stray cat these weeks closer to my
fingertips, to teach him petting?

It was a new thing—involuntary joy on skin terms.

When I had asked the older boy’s sister for his number she warned
he’s sometimes not nice to girls.

Fur can’t help that it’s reached-for.

The cat cries at the door now for more than just a bowl of food.

The boy was patient with me, clasping my button fly. It was a new
thing—him hearing wait.

It was a new thing—me being clambered-upon.

Small bodies should be born knowing what love feels like on skin

Nights are long with only wind smoothing haunches. Is it worth it
to crouch, inch forward toward the dish of a palm?

Is heartbreak more or less humane than starvation?

Purring is involuntary, internal.

Claws are internal except when they are externalized.

If this doesn’t work, he warned himself and me and unknown others,
I’ll go back to the way I was.

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