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The homeless guy who lowers himself
down beside me on the bench
outside the Co-op? He’s generic,
more dirt than human, his stink
killing my appetite for the bowl
of organic jackfruit on my lap. I stand,
ashamed, give him a dollar & walk away
after dumping the paper bowl
into a trashcan advertising the pleasures
of our historic shopping district.
I swore I’d stop writing about liberal guilt
& about cats too, but I must confess
last night, I groomed our little black cat
with my tongue & watched her perpetually
startled gold eyes widen as I licked her neck
& then her belly, inhaling her scent.
In Japan, childless couples can rent
a cat by the hour to sniff its belly, which
smells like the crown of a baby’s head.
First published in Birkenstock Blues (Presa Press)