Kitten Killer

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
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.