Cathedral Cats – a poem by Paul Jaskunas

Cathedral Cats

I know a cathedral full of cats.
They romp in the choir loft,
piss in the pews, and hiss
ungodly hallelujahs
at the stained-glass saints.
I once saw a lonely puss
warm its arched body
against an altar boy’s ankles.
Startled a tabby in the sacristy,
found another in the confessional.
During mass you might see
a calico creep across the aisle
or curl serenely by 
the Virgin’s plaster majesty.
They’ve even been known 
to fornicate in the nave
and devour mice in the apse
right under the crucifix, 
as Christ watches all
with painted eyes, 
patient witness to our wildness.

Paul Jaskunas is the author of the novel Hidden (The Free Press, 2004), winner of the Friends of American Writers Award, and founding editor of Full Bleed, an annual art journal published by the Maryland Institute College of Art, where he teaches literature and writing. His work has been featured by a variety of publications, including The Cortland Review, Gargoyle, The New York Times, America, and The Museum of Americana.

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