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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 11: January 2022
Haibun: 181 words
By Rick Christiansen

Into the Can


The small black kitten has been crushed, not quite dead. Her dark eyes are slits in her flattened face. Her white teeth are showing through her opened mouth, the tip of her pink tongue rests on the teeth, slightly protruding. She is trembling with small convulsions. I hold her in my 10-year-old hands, ask my stepfather, almost pleading, if we can take her to the doctor. “No point,” he says. “She’s trash now, put her in the can outside.” I walk up the steps from our basement apartment cradling the kitten in my upturned palms. I can still feel her trembling. I reach the heavy gray metal trash can. With the kitten in the crook of one arm, I pry off the frozen lid. I place the kitten onto the mound of cardboard and garbage in the can. It is twilight. Her black form lays on its side on the cardboard, like a charcoal cameo. I slowly replace the lid.

some need to grow thorns
to touch the pearl drop waters
part of me falls through

Rick Christiansen
Issue 11, January 2022

is a former corporate executive, stand-up comedian, actor, and director. His work can be found in several anthologies, and in the archives of Oddball Magazine, Muddy River Poetry Review, Stone Poetry Journal, The Raven’s Perch, The Rye Whiskey Review, Alien Buddha Press, and WINK Magazine, among other journals and magazines. He lives in Missouri with his Basset Hound Annie and near his eight grandchildren.

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