Eight Cats by Jessica Fox The old lady down the road has seven cats. I know why. I know why she has those cats. The neighbors watch on, shaking heads at her frisky yard. She doesn't come to the block parties. We've only seen her shadow behind backlit curtains. "The cat lady" is what we called her. . She grabs at those cats, stuffing them into the center of her chest. Arms stretched to both sides, right hand, then left hand, then right, pushing the fur into her hollow circumstance. Her ribs are slowly cracking, fracturing, then snapping. Her chest collapsing into itself, it is hard to breath, no warmth or kids or friends to keep the structure of her soul filled. The abandoned cats need her. And she needs that. She uses them to stuff and stuff and stuff. Fur tufts cling to her pants and peek out of her collar. But that hole in her soul still howls and rocks when it is quiet and the cats are curled and purring around her. Why does it still hurt? Seven cats may not be enough! One more will do the trick. Eight will help, at least for today. She pulls the eighth cat towards her and he is happy to oblige and she feels better. I know why she has those cats. I know that hole. Cats I do not have. Eight cats are clearly too many, as we have all discussed at the block parties! I only have 3 dogs, 7 fish, and 9 chickens.
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Jessica Fox is a conservation biologist working with both companies, farmers, and the general public to adopt sustainability programs for water and biodiversity. She specializes in the intersection of agriculture, water quality, pollinators, and energy production. She is an author of numerous scientific papers. She writes poetry in her own personal time and this event will be her first official poetry contest submission!
See her LinkedIn profile for more details: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jessica-fox-680b6515