little girls in kitten ears
and painted whiskers tumble down
my block in rows rehearsed
in leotards and black lace gloves.
precocious that high pitched
y o w l floats through open porches.
TV taught them how to meow
for Kit Kats Snickers bars,
bend over to tie their shoe
and seduce the nearest father;
he eyes the crevice cut through their
black tights and she notices.
she wants attention from her own father:
a photograph or upward twirl,
a burning torch,
purr in his lap while he strokes her hair
or just acknowledgment that she is the prettiest
girl dressed up as space cat,
those others are unoriginal, just regular
cats, he says I love yours best
and pats her on her head
and there is no offense taken.
she will grow up to be even smaller
than she supposed,
silent enduring still,
not awake in her own power,
her own body
like a stillborn tiger:
expelled with a tear
coated in the blood of her mother’s
screams as no one prepared her for the ecstasy
that followed expelling:
something parasitic and omniscient
and a future rival.
she lands on the floor
in a sealed protective pod,
fetal for always and
wrapped in excretion:
the things no one wanted,
like sewage water
a lotus to symbolize completion.
we aren’t worthy of those feline endowments
thrust upon us when we are playing
mole carcass on the doormat
aborted from our burrowed holes
for something more vociferous
to grab onto and finish,
our kinship: the lions.
we are nothing like our ancestors:
our virile mothers
who know nothing of preening,
who care nothing for tail feathers,
they take what they want.
they don’t grovel at their fathers’ feet.
they honor the slaughter,
the one they started,
before the harvest and pay homage
to the sky for the water provided
before they stuff themselves
we lack vision.
we just paint our nails black,
and dress like witches,
start shit for derision.
and we keep turning to our men
for forgiveness when we are wayward
or won’t marry them
when we should be
stuffing our faces with the meat they provided and
then burying them.