Carey Salerno


She’s saying over and over I feel foolish,
paces adumbral hallway cupping
syringe. Eyes out of focus can’t concentrate.
Watched, observed, so what
if I’m not confirmed
, but the veterinarian
pressures her to give the leg another try,
shave a bit of tabby fur, pump the forearm
a little harder this time, careful with the needle,
not too deep. The drugged cat’s ears
press the skull. She cannot miss its vein, focusing
on the twenty‐five cents raise. Wasn’t that enough
to lean over and stab the heart, humor the vet’s
sensitivity? Compassion: the slabbed certificate
on the wall reads so. In the name
of all holies she, he, anyone willing
to work for minimum wage may kill.

Carey Salerno
“Certification” appears in Shelter(Alice James Books, 2009).