By Maron Tate
Belly slit from the armpit to last rib—
we found it quivering and nearly dead
at the base of the mailbox, as if
the mailman had dropped it off earlier that morning
as if we were meant to find it.
I remember watching you fumble the kitten
into the sink bowl, slick
with rain and blood, you cupped warm
water against the back of its neck and dragged
hand down spine, flicked the filth
from its back,
stitched the cut closed
with a sewing needle and fishing line.
You let her rest in your hand until the little blue marbled
globes of her eyes glossed over with sleep
and vaulted shut, your pinky locked
in her jaw.
When I tell this story, I lie about her
making it through the night. The truth is:
there’s no telling what love might’ve done
had we loved in time—the kitten, each
other, the paper now peeling from the wall
above the stove—all that we could’ve
saved but never got the chance.
The way I tell it, she makes it through
that night and all the others.
Maron Tate attends the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities. She was born in Spartanburg, South Carolina where she has two parents and a hound dog. She can usually be found either in the on-sale candy aisle of CVS, in the library worshipping dead Cuban poets of the 1930s, or in a yoga class trying to keep up with her ultra-healthy, ultra-flexible friends. She has won a total of three Gold Medals, two Silver Keys, and two honorable mentions in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. She also received honorable mention for a poem in the Leonard L. Milberg ‘53 Secondary School Poetry Competition, as well as first runner-up in the Nancy Thorp poetry contest. She had poetry published in Cargoes, a literary magazine for Hollins University. She will be attending Oxford College of Emory University in the fall.