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Published: Thu Jul 1 2004
Eva Lundsager, Were now like (detail), 2021, oil on canvas

The cats seemed to understand
that we didn’t love them—barely
_      _ loved each other—and that we

wouldn’t be lasting long.
_      _ We caught them from behind,

put them in our trunk. We
weren’t cruel. They were placed
_      _ in a cozy box. My lover

found a large rock to go
_      _ on top. Everything was safe

as we rattled to the pound. And are
these your cats? asked the man
_      _ at the pound. No, they weren’t, I said,

they were just cats, we were just a couple
_      _ who’d found them. Really

they were my grandmother’s farm cats—thin,
sick, pink-eyed. She’d grown tired
_      _ of pouring them milk. And if no one

claims them, let me leave my name,
_      _ I said. (I didn’t want them but I’d

take them.) Good of me to have brought
them in, said the man, but these cats
_      _ were doomed—respiratory infections. I drove

with my lover—days numbered—to a hotel
_      _ out of town. Upstairs, we walked in,

the television already running. What about
the rock? he asked. I had it,
_      _ right? And I thought about the rock—

a small moon resting in the trunk’s
_      _ blue carpet nest. All he could think about

was opening our window and dropping it
down four floors, aiming it into a
_      _ man-made lake. He pressed. I said no.

But he got the rock anyway. I
_      _ turned the channel, hyenas laughing

over their fresh kill. Out it went. He said
it would be fun. It landed on the pavement,
_      _ missed the lake completely and

split in two. He shut the window
_      _ and kissed my neck. This is what

I know about my body, it turns
to be loved at every instance, it feels
_      _ warmth and it wants and it wants.

Kristen Tracy has published poems in Threepenny ReviewSouthern ReviewPrairie Schooner, and elsewhere. She co-edited A Chorus for Peace: A Global Anthology of Poetry by Women. Her first novel for teens, Lost It, was published by Simon & Schuster, and her second novel, Crimes of the Sarahs, will be released in spring 2008. (updated 9/2007)

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