NaPoWriMo, Day 3 (belated)

I really did write this yesterday, but I wasn’t quite happy with it enough to put it up.  I tweaked it today, so here is a second draft:

TEACHING CAT

When I was young, my mother took night classes

at the local community college.  In one building they had

a dead, dissected cat under glass, splayed flat on its back,

paws wide as if in surrender.  Its now-brittle belly skin cut

and pulled back, rib cage cracked to teach humans

about its lungs, stomach, intestines, the dingy pinks

and browns dulled and yellowed by formaldehyde.

Its chin jutted upwards, hiding its eyes.  I wanted to know

if it had ever been loved, if a warm hand

had ever passed over the white fur

or if it had ever been called to its dinner

by a name someone chose for it.  But I hid

behind my mother’s legs, afraid to see

what was really inside, what was split wide open

and vulnerable.

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