boys & kittens

There was the time when I found the kitten in a box.
A big box. I had come home for the weekend, didn’t
know about it. A kitten. You’d think they’d tell you
about something so simply restorative as a kitten.

You’d think that’d be the first thing they’d mention.
But I had travelled up 79 from college, in the truck
of the dental-student son of friends of my folks,
and I was weary from small-talk on top of heartbreak

though I wasn’t gonna talk about any of that. Maybe
it was fair, silence about The Boy for silence about
The Kitten. Anyway, they fed me, we watched the news,
I went to bed. Tossing in my little-girl spool bed

with the too-short saggy mattress, in my teenaged-girl
room with the Cheap Trick poster and my old boombox.
Rummaging through cassettes, hoping Goodbye Yellow
Brick Road
would make me sleep, I heard it. A squeak.

That was when I found the box, a big box, in the bathroom. 

The tiniest grey kitten, platter eyes pleading with me
to pick it up. Meow! Meow! (How could they be so cruel?!)
That kitten kneaded me, suckling and crying all night long.

The litter had been thrown from the bridge into the crick
in a burlap sack. My sister had found them; her kitten only,
far too young for weaning, survived. He lived to old age,
always suckling and kneading. I found a new boyfriend.

Laurie's word prompt to the Real Toads today is BURLAP. Poem #23 of 30 Poems in November to benefit Center for New Americans.