Poetry 2014 / Volume 45

Like that Cat in the Barn — William Jolliff

It arched its scabby back, spit a curse,
and tried to look just larger than a man,
a mix of malice and something worse,
one part terror, two parts contempt.
I hadn’t meant to trap her in the barn—
she could’ve kept that loft for all I care.

I’d never seen that look again until
the day we sat together with your analyst
to hear what diagnosis she could make.
We listened while she scratched out the fate
of any way you’d ever tried to feel
about yourself. I heard your masque begin
to crack. She didn’t mean to trap you.
Still, I’ll never blame you for the h

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