Under a porch swing hung by rusted chains
a cat lay in decay, lapping itself.
On its head, a little fur, mostly the remains of a face.
From ear to eye, all can see what’s inside.
Mange exposed skull, veins, discolored muscle.
Flies land and try to suck at the musky surface
but the feline moves to lick where she carries
a tumor like a love song, never purring, never playful,
just lucky the eye stays in its socket.
Licking, she found decay not tasty, but a habit
like laying on concrete. Only her owner didn’t ignore her
xxxas she inspected her pet’s rot.
“This cat is falling apart. It must be the heat.”
“Worthless pet. Do you know what we did when it was hot?”
No one does.
“Dead or dying, we picked more cotton.”
Armed with a fly swatter, she smacks the tumor.
The cat left behind blood spots and bad memories.
Minutes later, she asked, “Where is my beautiful cat?”
No one answered. They lick on good memories while they can
while looking deep into their iced tea, pretending
their days aren’t all decay, inside and out.