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The Painter, Russell Zintel

CW: blood


I watch my cat drag a bleeding mouse across the floor.

Ok, the mouse is dead.

Any new blood that emits

No longer counts as bleeding.

Beginning to stand, I see the way she enjoys

Having the specimen in her mouth & become captivated.

There’s something inspiring about her enjoyment

Leaving a swipe mark across the white vinyl tile, as if the mouse’s fur

Has become a paintbrush. As if its tail is the paintbrush handle

& my cat the accidental painter

Only dealing in red.

Her signature: lines like weeping.

Their tears, plasma

Rising through an atmosphere of envy

An alternate universe where art satisfies hunger

Where canvases turn like spit roasts in the gut.

She discards the mouse remains, all spine

Tail, feet, a sinister little sword, looks at me

Like, What are you gonna do for me, now?

Then slinks into the living room

To sleep it off. I will never

Have it

Like she does.


Russell Zintel lives north along the Hudson River with his partner KT and their cat. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in decomP Magazine, Re-Side Zine, Tiger Moth Review, and others.

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