Kitten of the Forgotten
Richard cradled the discarded kitten inside his coat that had seen better days ten years ago. He settled her in the inside pocket usually reserved for two packets of crackers he took twice a week from the soup kitchen and napkins they let him have. For now it was home to a kitten no larger than a hamster.
He'd found her in the dumpster next to a discarded donut box with two stale creamsticks. Richard squeezed the cream for the kitten, fed her from his finger, leaving the sandpaper tongue wanting more.
Snow fell on soft fur and Richard brushed it from her matted eyes. "Good kitty, good kitty, no one's going to take you. Richard's kitty now. Forever." he felt for his knife in the outside pocket. "No one's going to take you from Richard."
He remembered a puppy he'd found once, remembered how three boys had beaten her with bats and laughed when he'd cried and begged them to stop and one hit him, leaving a gash and the puppy's blood on his face. He still heard the echo of her cries and the silence, the deafening silence.
Richard patted his pocket. "Good kitty, good kitty, Richard's kitty now. No one's going to hurt Richard's kitty. Go to sleep, go to sleep." He sang his mantra patting the pocket, home to the matted eyed kitten he'd keep forever. Richard patted his pocket, sat down on a piece of cardboard and didn't notice the purring stopped.
Barbara Tate is an award winning artist and writer. Her work has appeared in StoryTeller, Arizona Quarterly, Santa Fe Literary Review, Modern Haiku, Contemporary Haibun Online, Frogpond, Cattails, Bear Creek Haiku, and Magnolia Quarterly as well as Switch (the Difference), Objects in the Rear View Mirror, Element(ary My Dear) and Happy Holidays anthologies. She is a member of the Gulf Coast Writers Association, Haiku Society of America and United Haiku and Tanka Society. She currently resides in Winchester, TN.