Rhonda

Can you tie a cat knot?

You see, there are dog knots and horse knots

but I can’t tie a cat knot.

Can you tie a cat knot?

 

Speckled sidewalks

Fuming vents

Stale urine

and pigeons.

 

Rhonda sits on an off-white wall

Her rounded shoulders facing the ground,

only her eyes look

up for threats and down for shut.

 

A cat.

Can you tie a cat know?

No.

I need to tie a cat knot.

 

Speed.

A name.

A drug.

Rhonda was familiar with both.

 

Slurred speech

Thick tears, held in

skied down her cheeks

collecting grim on the way down...

 

Speed was her only friend

only stable force

in a gypsy life hard as granite

loyal, dependable.

 


My legs tingled as I sat in front of her.

Soaking up a life poured out

imprinting on my heart.

And the thick tears


 

Failure:

of the system

of her family, friends (she had none to claim, hers)

of herself.

 

Hunger

Harassment

hard

hard

 

Can you tie a cat knot?

He can’t leave me

He can’t leave me

He won’t leave me … right?

 

I had to leave her.

The street was getting bad

Time to go

I left Rhonda next to the storm, her defenses up

 

Can you tie a cat knot?

I have a collar for you: security

A nine-toothed grin,

Old muscles flexing, it hurt, like a loose tooth

 

Can you tie a cat knot?

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