Sunday morning: brake lights flash, hold, then flicker, cars flank, accelerate down Scranton Avenue around a wet ball of lint, twitching in a puddled gutter, erratically jerk in grey and white, wet by the curb. I pull over, and get to the kitten just before the children. "Stay away!" I say. "You don't want to see this." This being, the hot breathing body, the head blood diluting in a dirty puddle, the tiny hind paw digging furiously at air. I touch its head, half- flattened, and feel the shattered shell of skull slide inside and up my arm and into an ache in my teeth. I turn the shuddered bones slightly, this skein of spirit in my hands, knit then raveled, take its head in hand press nose and mouth into the half inch of red water swirling about ebon ears and silver fur. Press firmly. A new gush of blood, the tiny claws find purchase along the inside of my wrist; I am here for it, to the last, to the frightful moment of passage, even in this tiny kitten the fury of life hopes, even as I take it.