Neighborhood Watch

Joey found the first cat glassy-eyed and unable to keep its head up under Mrs. White’s hydrangeas. He blamed a virus, but when the stubby-legged tabby staggered and collapsed on the sidewalk he knew one of the neighbors was poisoning the strays. That summer quilts covered Joey’s windows so he could sleep during the day. At night, he chain-smoked in the shadows of evergreens, lurked behind garages. Twice Ms. Wilson woke up to find her sliding door open. Mr. Whitmore took out a stop sign—someone cut his brake lines. September, three kittens squeezed out from beneath the Parker’s shed.

Joshua Michael Stewart has had poems published in Massachusetts Review, William and Mary Review, Pedestal Magazine, and others. His chapbook Vintage Gray was published in 2007. Visit him at www.joshuamichaelstewart.yolasite.com.

Photo credit: Nico Nelson

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