You find yourself in a room where
the wallpaper is a panorama of birds
displayed as either perched on branches
or in various stages of flight,
each rendered in brilliant full color.
Meanwhile the same color as the rain-
heavy sky, dozens, hundreds of them
all stacked at least ten deep on a flat-
bed truck, each metal cage contains
one cat, the truck itself an old cat,
crouched and purring at the stoplight
she walks by on her way home after school.
There are scattered holes in the walls,
some near the floor, others midway up,
and several near the ceiling, and in
these holes are the faces of live cats
staring hungrily at two-dimensional birds.
Seeing the cats in cages reminds her
of the endless war, dire food shortages
and the efficient machines that remove
their heads, fur and feet, how they are
packed in styrofoam and plastic wrap
for display in stores, but she doesn't care
since her favorite food is cat nuggets.
Suddenly a cat leaps out,
forcing you to run across the room
and catch it in order to put it back,
and then another, finally dozens
leaping, darting, zigzagging.
Dozens, hundreds of raindrops pepper
the leaves in her front yard as she opens
the screen door, ditches her backpack,
turns and, hair dripping, runs to the barn
where she knows, has known all day long
she will receive a welcoming wing flap
and squawk from Doreen, her pet chicken.
You wake up, rub your eyes, and wonder
why you feel so utterly exhausted, looking out
at the walls with their bare trees and empty sky,
beneath them too many lifeless birds to count
littering the forest floor of your bedroom.