My Neighbor Shot My Cat

The woman down the road nails to a tree
a sign made from a cardboard box –
My Neighbor Shot My Cat.
Her rough billboard sells nothing, no
eggs for sale, fresh-picked corn, pick-up truck
low miles. No call to arms or action, shun
my murderous neighbor, support
gun control. The shot cat’s owner lives
in a converted chicken coop,
counts the eggs in her basket,
hand-feeds deer out the back door.
Last Christmas, she cradled her rooster
Clark as he died from old age.
For a time the sign holds up – no
retractions, or updates on the cat’s condition,
no p.s. on charges pressed against the junior high boy.
Through the summer, the sign becomes a thing
on the way, for joggers to run to
and loop back. Heat and rain wilt
the sign. My Cat bends into the ground,
My Neighbor lies under a soggy shutter.
All that’s left by fall is Shot.

from The Sow’s Ear,, Fall 2010