I didn’t cry when I saw it,
the dead hair matted back with blood
and muddy rainwater.
I should have cried,
hid my eyes
from the upturned lip,
the chipped fang and black-ocean pupils
frozen in gutterworn rage—
the sorts of hollow, holy things
that we aren’t meant to see.
I should have cried
the way I did
when Grandpa died—
a needy, feline yowl.
A slow, realizing series of sobs.
I should have stopped right there,
middle of the road in the rain
and tipped my hat,
turned my eyes,
apologized for my sins.
Grandpa would have been proud
that I acted like a man.
If I told him today he would laugh,
squeeze my shoulder a little too hard
and say, “Ain’t your fault.
Thing should’ve stayed out the road.”
But later, alone and deep in his own
reasons, Grandpa would weep into a pillow,
limp like a cat