Against my pale belly the kitten
we saved is small and looking
away from the phone you hold
out to us, capturing the moment,
my naked torso only between us.
In an hour it will be
a new year.

Earlier we had been out to Bay St. Louis,
broken trees dotting the shore
and docks stretching into the empty
sea and a horizon
colorless and turgid.
Many months later and we could
still feel the violence of the storm
and when we left there were others
arriving to the beach to dig in it
and to make pits for their bonfires.
Already solitary fireworks
dotted the sky here and there
as we pulled out in our rented car
to make it back to be with the kitten
for the new year.

Practice at making a family
we would never make,
but I am smiling with the kitten
comfortable in my arms
the way she almost never was later.
When the new year came
I don’t even remember if we kissed.


Andrew Decker