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kittymauler
by Melissa Thompson

he picks up cats like they were babies in wet diapers,
holding them away from his body.
arms outstretched, the cats dangle off the floor.
their claws dig into his self-centered skin
and he bleeds, and he revels in his bloodiness.

the cat is an orchestra of curls:
her tail is straight, for once,
threatening to stab him to death.
her body curls up towards her terrified face,
back legs spreading to claw him.
she does not enjoy being picked up by her feline armpits.

the look the cat shoots me from across the room
reflects my own horror.
"i do this to my cat at home all the time," he says,
as if his abuse of his own cat makes all cats his to dominate.
at this instant, i realize how much i hate him for not knowing
how to please a cat.