Road Cat

The vet had to take his eyes
out of his head, the mangy
black kitten found
next to the road.
They swelled up milky green,
the rawness of peeled grapes
and bulged so far out
from his face he looked
like a surprised cartoon.

The neighbor girls had come
to pet the new rescue,
but when I saw his eyes,
how bad they’d gotten, I said
he was very tired
and could they come back later
so the kitty could sleep.
Then I ran into
the barn for my mother.

I held the carrier cage
on my lap as we drove.
He was so quiet and good
I wanted to cry.

After the surgery, Roadie had stitches
that stuck out like false eyelashes.
They were so long
and black and silky
he looked like a 50’s starlet.
Mom said he just looked
like he had his eyes closed.

The vet’s assistant fell in love
and took him home—he knows
where everything is
in her apartment. The sockets
healed. Like he never had eyes.

Theodosia Henney is a Pushcart Prize-nominated queer whose poems and flash prose have appeared or are forthcoming in over a dozen publications, including RHINO, Grey Sparrow Journal, Fifth Wednesday, Vestal Review, Ozone Park, and Dirtcakes. She recently returned from several months of living out of a backpack, and is profoundly excited at the prospect of having shelves again.

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