Katie Quinnelly

I Tried to Wash the Cat

I know what it feels like to want to die. I tried to talk to her, but she wouldn’t listen. I’d seen her drink until her clothes were saturated and stinking. The last time I went home, I was on her living room floor in a sleeping bag, itching with fleas. I couldn’t sleep.

One of her cats slept in the litter box. His hair was all gnawed in spots, the shit got in his wounds. I couldn’t stand to watch another slowly slipping through the cracks. I wrapped him in a towel, took him to the bathtub, put him under the faucet. I tried to pull the blood off of his matted fur, but he was fighting, saying I don’t need your help, saying this is who I am.

I held his body close to my chest, he ripped up my back. I held his body down under the water he howled I held his splashing body down he howled I held his rigid body down he howled I held