A Puff Of Fluff

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A Puff Of Fluff

Three surviving kittens
Of an abandoned cat
Living under our house.

Mother left for work.
Sisters visited friends.
Stepfather saw opportunity.

“Let’s learn to shoot,” he said.
Crawl under there,” he said.
Get those damn cats.”

He’d won the rifle at poker.
Each kitten was posed on a fence post,
mewing and blinking uncertain eyes,

like political prisoners dragged
from dim cells to face execution.

We stood together, he and I, 
Fresh in life yet holding death.
He demonstrated the mechanism.

Schooled by scars of war,
He modeled the stance.
“Squeeze lightly,” he instructed.

The first kitten exploded
In a puff of fluff, disappeared.
He slid a bullet in the chamber.

He handed the gun to me.
The stock was shiny smooth.
He fit it to my shoulder.

“It bucks. Keep it tight,” he warned.
A smell of oil and gunpowder.
“Close your left eye,” he said.

“Line up the sight and the notch
With your target,” he said.
Wordless, I did as he said.

“Steady. Squeeze.”
The stock slammed my shoulder.
My ears were deafened.

The cat was gone, annihilated.
One perfectly good kitten remained.
He ejected the spent shell.

He filled the chamber.
I had started to cry.
“Don’t be a sissy,” he said.

He handed me the gun.
I shook my head no, a rare refusal.
He raised the weapon and fired.

The third kitten exploded.
“Don’t mention this to your Mom
Or the girls. They won’t like it.

Little did he know,
I hated him and the machine.

. . . j 
from the Senses and More Such collection

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