There was no denying it, the cat was a nuisance – yowling at night, rummaging in garbage cans, tipping over an occasional flowerpot, demoralizing the local bird population, and in general upsetting the preferred order of things. He was peculiar looking besides, even for a stray, with fur the proximate color and texture of a dustball. But it was his long, skinny, flea-bitten tail that caused the most widespread offense, being exceedingly twitchy, as if in a constant state of arousal. And so the people held a meeting, and at the meeting, they said the cat must go. They said he set a bad example for other cats. They said he posed a risk to the health and safety of the neighborhood children. They said he behaved like something out of a dark and disgusting past. The more they talked, the more righteous they felt. Seething with righteous fury, they went hunting the cat and found him harmlessly dozing in a doorway in a patch of sun. They beat him with shovels and broom handles, beat him until they had smashed his body and crushed his skull. And to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street.

About the Poem

Six Dr. Seuss books will no longer be published because they “portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong,” the business that preserves the author’s legacy said. My parable-like prose poem examines the questionable mentality that perpetrates censorship.

About the Author

Howie Good is the author of more than a dozen poetry collections, including most recently The Death Row Shuffle (Finishing Line Press), The Trouble with Being Born (Ethel Micro Press), and Gunmetal Sky (Thirty West Publishing).

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