more than a few years ago
my neighbor fed the feral cats
78 was the final count 
when she decided 
they were my job now

I had taken in three
two died quickly
and one didn’t yet

One survived the purge
by disappearing
I think I killed him this spring
He was suffering from fleas

so thick that his whiteness was stained pink
I gave him some medicine 
and never saw him again
I don’t believe he was ever touched

The last of the colony died just the other day
I spent $800 but wish I had just let him die at home
here with me

I feel guilty just having one cat
and guiltier still when I looked out just this week
and see the starving cats
left last night in my alley 

And my relief