Little Kitten

I am not sure of whether it is a boy kitten or a girl kitten.

I am sure it is a kitten.

On Moi Avenue,

In a corner between two glossy shops,

It is shivering.

It is a hot sunny humid day.

A day to pull on your short shorts,

Strap on your sandals,

A day to let the heat get in your head,

The type of day to make love on the grass.

The kitten is shaking now, it is damp.

Almost distressed by the dodgy droplets of water,

Originating from somewhere in those buildings,

Ending in little puddles in the cracks and spaces in the pavement

It tries to move… obviously unable to, yet persistent,

It is scared by the bright neon colored heels that whiz past,

The high pitched squeals of girlfriends jumping around in glee,

The matatu screeching to a halt at the traffic light,

As I watch absentmindedly, half dancing half walking to the music blaring in my headphones.

A man, using his hands for feet, hobbles to find a space in the shade.

Kittens hate water.

It collapsed in the puddle,

Its little frame heaving, eyes wide darting here and there and everywhere,

Its mouth opens wide in disbelief,

It was time for the little kitten to go.

The man laid out his mat blocking my view of the kitten,

His hollow chest heaving, he is tired.

He fishes out his little phone, squinting at the screen,

With a smile too big for his face he says, ‘Hello!’

He laughs long and loud and deep, it is good news.

The man sets out his red plastic cup,

He fixes his mat and adjusts his black shirt,

His face is distant and black,

His breathing, slow and deliberate,

Looking up into the faces of those who pass, asking of alms,

He is as much a part of the street as the uneven pavement that lines it,

He finds my eyes and lifts his cup to me,

I rummage in my bag for spare change,

Change from the potato chips that I didn’t really need,

I see my girlfriend waving at me and forget the man seated next to a dead kitten.

Amare Poeta

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