Yesterday a black cat’s severed head was found in my neighbor’s driveway. Just the head. Halloween’s around the corner, my lover says. Like that explains everything. I think it might be coyotes, but she says no, finding just the head is indicative of ritual sacrifice. If the coyotes got ’em, she assures me, they’d leave more behind. My lover is reading a book about humans as predators who invade a territory. Deplete its resources. Infect its inhabitants, and then move on, do it all again. She says it’s science fiction. I say there’s nothing fictional about it. Honestly, I don’t know why we’re still together. Except for the sex. How she knows exactly where to touch me. How I cannot get enough of her mouth. If we could just stay naked, I tell her, we might have a shot. The neighbor’s new baby cries and cries. Today, for 30 minutes. I timed it, in case something happens and the detectives come calling. You’re a born rescuer, my lover says. I think that means she loves me. There’s a kitten, I tell her, inside a drainpipe on the corner of 5th and Nelson, in front of the ILW Local 63. When I mention I want to rescue him, name him Piper, she snaps. Are YOU going to change the litter box? Each day we spat over trifles. Wertmüller or Pasolini. Smooth or crunchy. Reggae or Ska. She thinks we should blow our savings, fly to Patagonia, like Chatwin. Traverse South America. I think we should write our will, choose a cemetery, spend that money on a double-wide. We aren’t getting any younger. I want things settled, tidy, but she won’t budge. I hope to God I die first, I tell her. Leave you with all the chaos. She laughs. Don’t be naïve, she says. There is no God.
Alexis Rhone Fancher: “I live on the bluffs of San Pedro, and sometimes read Next-Door, San Pedro, the ‘neighborhood hub for trusted connections and the exchange of helpful information’ to keep up with the local news. Diana’s report about headless cats, and another about the kitten in the drainpipe, as well as other neighbors’ comments about coyotes and other local creatures reminded me that I live in the somewhat wild, and led me to write this poem. I’m including a photo of a black cat I shot a few years ago. It just seemed to fit the poem.” (web)