Sam Ruddick


Driving, I imagined a speech
I would give to my students.
I was going to stop
Using profanity,
Because while originally
I thought it would promote
A relaxed environment,
The only thing they were learning
Was their English teacher.

Then I saw a dead cat,
White, unbloodied,
And parked my car across two lanes
To protect her.  She was limp
And floppy, her dark mouth
Open, unbroken fangs.
Animal control said
They'd call sanitation
In the morning.

I left her in a parking lot, next
To a lightpost, hoped
The ants wouldn't come.
There was blood
On my hand, and urine.

In the morning
I told my students
This story.

Sam Ruddick is a Henfield Prize winner, whose short stories have appeared in numerous journals including Gulf Stream, Sonora Review, Phantasmagoria, and the Red Rock Review. His poems have been likewise published in Painted Bride Quarterly and Pearl.

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