It is 3P.M. I decide to take a shower. I take off my sweatpants. Wash up. Put my sweatpants back on. On my way back to my desk I notice there are three empty tins of cat food on the bookcase. It must be Wednesday. I find my cat at the bottom of the stairs. How are you baby? I ask. Meow, he says. Oh, it’s Thursday. I go back upstairs and open a new can for him. I’m living at my mother’s house. Her back porch looks out onto a parking lot. She bought a decorative vase for me to leave my cigarettes in. Ashtrays are nasty, she said. I go out there to smoke. There is a dumpster in the parking lot and behind it, a swamp. A group of kids are rolling around on skateboards. I want to shoot them with a BB gun. We’ve got to have a BB gun somewhere, I think. One of the kids looks up at me. I realize I am scratching my crotch. He frowns. I wave. Sorry, I call out to him. It is hot. I go back inside. I take off my sweatpants and cut them above the knees. I put them back on and go outside for another cigarette. The kids are gone. A raven is perched on the end of the porch. It watches me. I wave. I hold out my arm and it flies over to perch on my wrist. Holy shit, I think. I feel special. Its claws tighten and it hurts. Ow! I cry. It doesn’t move and I panic. I shake my arm and it flies off. I’m sorry! I call after it. I turn to see my cat in his bed, suctioned to the window, watching and, though I must be imagining it, chuckling.
*originally published in Maudlin House