We’re sitting in the Jimmy Johns

waiting for our foot-longs.

 

My father’s brand-new cane

a twisted length of black branch

that crack-cracks

every time he leans too heavy on it.

 

Outside a crowd gathers

around a Ford Mustang

with a kitten stuck

inside the wheel well, motor still

hot as black sand.

 

We ordered and paid

twenty minutes ago.

 

Two of the four teenagers

who run the place

stand outside wearing oven gloves

and one holds a box

to nest the kitten once she’s free.

 

My father peers

between window signage.

That’s a job for the fire department.

Someone call 911!

 

This music’s too loud,

my newly-diagnosed

mother says.

Can we go someplace else?

 

Each time the door opens,

I fingernail pinch

the delicate skin under my arm

—to stave away

the slice of kitten’s

reverberant meow-meows

from deep the metal gut.

 

 

Katy E. Ellis

Katy E. Ellis grew up under fir trees and high-voltage power lines in Renton, Washington and is the author of three chapbooks: Night Watch—winner of the 2017 Floating Bridge Press chapbook competition—Urban Animal Expeditions and Gravity (a single poem), which was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her poetry appears in a number of literary journals including Pithead Chapel, MAYDAY Magazine, Calyx, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, and the Canadian journals PRISM International, Grain and Fiddlehead. Her fiction has appeared in Burnside Review and won Third Place in the Glimmer Train super-short fiction contest. She has been awarded grants from the Elizabeth George Foundation, Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture and Artist Trust/Centrum. Katy co-curates WordsWest Literary series, a monthly literary event in West Seattle.

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