The kitten says he’s trying to fix it. We’re all trying
to fix it and so far, nothing works. We’re clicking
all the options, our whiskers quivering. We remember,
invisibly, when we used to walk the streets free
as birds, as humans. Now we’re all boxed in. I think
it’s a filter, the judge repeats, gently, keeping calm
for the rest of us. Our little kitten heads make a slight,
sharp movement as if we might shake all this off,
somehow. We’re here, we’re alive. From inside it,
we swivel our helpless eyeballs. We wait. We grieve
the dead. Make the bed, or don’t, again. Whisper
patience, or pray, or say we’re fine, barely
audible, with our tiny pink mouths. We’re prepared,
we say mournfully, to go forward with it.
Chloe Martinez is the author of Corner Shrine (Backbone Press, 2020) and Ten Thousand Selves (The Word Works, 2021). Her poems have appeared in Waxwing, The Common, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere. She teaches at Claremont McKenna College.