When a boy, my Dad dropped a wriggling

box of kitten into a swamp by


the Kanawha River as he had been bidden. Fifty

years later, I killed a mother


with my car, her kittens left in a warm

globe by the road.


Later still, my father read aloud for

my two pumas–


Charlie Et La Chocolaterie

soothing them with the language


of a gentle voice. One boy likes his belly

rubbed, his hot armpits airing


along his ears, the pin-cushion paw pads drawing

and releasing. His brother sleeps


in a cardboard box on the piano,

dreaming rumbling dreams.




Eliza Callard lives with her family in her hometown of Philadelphia. She enjoys hiking and reading, and her website is elizacallard.com.