poem #67

This vacuum cleaner
has never claimed the lives
of any cat or dog,
and yet,
the moment I wheel it from the closet,
my dogs backs into the kitchen
with his head low
and the cats worry awake.
When I step on the switch
and the machine growls white noise,
the cats vanish,
not even leaving a frown behind,
and my dog paces restlessly, skittering
at the mere suggestion of nearness.
It doesn’t matter how many times
their lives are spared by this machine,
they still run wildly from the domestic droning,
searching for somewhere hidden,
somewhere sacred,
somewhere safe.

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