When I am gone the cat sleeps on my bed
all through the afternoon, his slender paws
folded under his body. Or, sometimes,
he wanders through my parents’ room, sniffing
my mother’s clothes, scattered over the floor,

the dust on rows of picture frames. He slinks
into the dining room, his tail held tense
and low, weaving through the wooden legs, crouching
in shadows, his green eyes glinting, watching
my mother in the kitchen, chopping pale

onions. She sniffs and wipes her eyes with red
fingers, brushes back her hair. Tail twitching,
he watches her sit down, her shoulders slumped,
her back hunching above the plate. Later,
sitting inside the glass storm door, he sees

her looking at the budding cherry tree
I planted with my grandfather last May,
its drooping branches bending to the ground,
not laden yet with fruit or blossoms, but
swaying slowly in the August evening air.
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Welcome to Problem Child

Problem Child offers an alternative medium for publication of poetry, prose, artwork, essays, and other creative media by semi-annually publishing the Problem Child Literary Magazine. Problem Child aims to publish and promote individual original thought by creating and hosting a creative community.