Kerry Trautman

Black Cat

The morning my father
was newly dead the neighbor’s

elusive black cat—who I had
glimpsed occasionally dashing

shrub to shrub—appeared at my
back sliding door, green eyes

peering at the glass,
pupils mere slits

in dawn’s sunbeam. He pawed
at the smoothly flattened palms

of me and two of my children,
sniffed the nothing of our skin

and his own reflection,
and I knew that soon—with

or without sudden movement—
he was sure to vanish.


Kerry Trautman is a lifelong Ohioan whose work has appeared in numerous anthologies and journals. She has served as judge or workshop leader for the Northwest region of Ohio’s “Poetry Out Loud” competition annually since 2016. Her books are Things That Come in Boxes (King Craft Press 2012,) To Have Hoped (Finishing Line Press 2015,) Artifacts (NightBallet Press 2017,) To be Nonchalantly Alive (Kelsay Books 2020,) and Marilyn: Self-Portrait, Oil on Canvas (Gutter Snob Books 2022,)and Unknowable Things (Roadside Press 2023). Her fiction chapbook, Irregulars, is forthcoming from Stanchion Books in July 2023.