by Jessica Forest

He looks like he’s
in pain but he’s okay, really,
that’s just the shape
his mouth makes
whenever he hears
her voice.  He twitches,
fingers give
to inconstant fiddling:

the wax on the
whiskey bottle’s neck,
tandemic vertebra of the
one-eyed cat marching
beneath briary skin
are not safe from
his suffering:

a paw in the dark
reaching for that scrap
of noise with
a glistening, candy-coated
pulse that doesn’t give him
any comfort when
he kills it.