The Night

ends in layers
on her kitchen floor;
jackets, boots and kitten heels
form conclusions on stained tile.

I wasn't in her
apartment five minutes
before the phone rang; low talk
in another room that meant nothing.

Later, in bed, she explained
the call as a boyfriend, suspicious;
we both pretended that it might matter.
She was the first woman

to acknowledge the scars
laddered from my shoulder to my hip;
she walked her fingers down the raised
rungs without asking why.

On the bedside stand,
familar icons: Schnapps, seconal,
lamp with a pink ruffled shade.
Somewhere in the room, a cat growled

its disapproval. After, she slept-
on her side, a locked blade.
I sat on the edge, tried but couldn't
remember her name. The cat appeared,

wound between my feet,
its censure forgotten. I stroked its fur,
felt flesh shiver over bone.
"Your'e a good cat," I said. "A good cat."

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