"Cremains" by Jennifer Martelli

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I make my squirrels fat, feed them oatmeal apple bars, bread

slathered with almond butter. My last living cat likes to watch

them scurry down from the maple in my neighbor’s yard, likes

to watch them on the patio bricks & her eyes become moons. 

Upstairs, in my bedroom which rests in the middle branches, 

I keep three small oak boxes filled with cremains. Good kitty, 

good kitty, good kitty. The boxes remind me of the hope chest

samples they gave us back in high school: little coffins to fit a doll.

I’ve been sober nearly thirty years, more than half my life spent dry

as a god’s unused flute. If I opened up a hole in my skin, filled that hole 

with anything, my heart would explode.

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Jennifer Martelli

Jennifer Martelli is the author of My Tarantella (Bordighera Press), as well as the chapbook After Bird (Grey Book Press, winner of the open reading in 2016). Her work has appeared or will appear in Verse Daily, The Sonora Review, Iron Horse Review (winner, Photo Finish contest), The Sycamore Review, Sugar House, Superstition Review, Thrush, and Tinderbox Poetry Journal. Her prose and artwork have been published in Five-2-One, The Baltimore Review, and Green Mountains Review. Jennifer has been nominated for Pushcart and Best of the Net Prizes and is the recipient of the Massachusetts Cultural Council Grant in Poetry. She is a poetry editor for The Mom Egg Review.

Headshot: Laurie Swope

Photo Credit: Staff