Because she was not cute

Pregnant at the cusp of adolescence,
she returned to a too-thin lankiness
immediately after giving birth,

a pacing prowl that shivered
down her legs, a jagged twitch
to each long movement,

and the softness of her breath
unable to disguise the yellow hunter’s fire
that lurked in her eyes,

the unsheathed sharpness
that charged about in her rib cage,
sending her early and often to the streets.

And because she was not cute,
she had to die. Although
for mercy’s sake,

they thought a public program
might be the answer, a shelter
from her wild short life,

a place where others might look
and find some beauty in her,
turn her soft and sweet after all,

although they knew how unlikely
such a salvation was, when,
as soon as the kittens were weaned,

they dropped her off at the
animal rescue league.


Janet Barry is a musician and poet with works published in numerous journals and anthologies, most recently Prairie Wolf Press, The Mom Egg, Naugatuck River Review, Extract(s), and Looseleaf Tea. She serves yearly as a judge for Poetry Out Loud, and has received several Pushcart and Best of the Net nominations, as well as having her poem “Aubade” chosen for inclusion in a forthcoming edition of BiLINE (Best Indie Lit New England). Janet holds degrees in organ performance and poetry.

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