This is an excerpt from The Spirit of Blue Ink by Walter Pavlich.


In the corner of the exercise yard,
Near the boxing ring,
In the short-breathed heat of July,
A shirtless man in prison jeans stoops
Down to feed his ration of turkey hash
To a twenty-eight pound cat.

It eats past fullness,
Stuffed fur mountain
Rubbing its appreciation on the knuckles
Of a man who shot his wife, his dog,
And his car before lunch.

He loves the beast in a fat way,
Because it pisses off voluntary jays,
Because it once backed up
And sprayed a lieutenant’s pants leg,
Because it won’t eat what it kills.

It is not just the walls they share.

He pets it for nothing, grimly.
It understands, purring freely.