when the young child showed him the kitten whose head
her friends had opened with a trowel.
How was he supposed to go on proclaiming a life free from attachment
or whatever when this simple lack of symmetry so immediately undid him
was his first thought, his second thought a blanketing
of thanks when the cat raised its head
and said I think we all can agree the saddest part of this entire dilemma
is how even if you care your care will come to naught. The girl
dropped it like that, let the holy father go back
to doing nothing with the slow, oblique courtesy the villagers long ago
agreed it would be misfortune to disrupt; she’d received from this the necessary
lesson in withholding, so walked home hoping to explain her tardiness
with a story about nothing but some clouds, how before they wandered down the day’s
they looked like two cupped hands offering their water to the closest open mouth.