“Misplaced Blame” by Warren Wolfson

Warren Wolfson


A power failure blamed on a cat shut
down the Cook County Criminal Courts
building Monday…
—Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, 9/26/03

Let’s not blame the cat.
He, if he was a he,
had a right to find
a warm, safe place
to rest until dark.

The cat did not know
the white powder was dropped
at the detective’s feet,
or placed for finding
on the car’s cold bright leather seat.

The cat did not see
what the worried witness saw—
the hooded man running
after firing the bullet
that ended an unfulfilled life.

The cat did not commit
the stickups or burglaries
or aggravated sexual assualts
or any of the other ways
men and women find to offend.

The courts closed for a day.
No trial, no prison term,
no decision to kill a killer—
a restful 24 hours.
Then it all started again.

from Rattle #23, Summer 2005
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