Anna Cates

For thirteen years, Amos Woods had never left his hometown of Sabina, Ohio. He knew
Wilmington was down the road one way and Washington Court House up the other, but he
considered travelling unsafe.

He spent hours every day staring out the window, distrustful of passersby. At least once
a week, he inspected his house for bugs, peering into crevices for ants, examining floorboards for roaches, and lifting musty curtains for ticks and fleas. Sometimes, Amos wondered if
someone might be watching him through the TV screen. One day, he smashed the set with an ax and never watched Friends again.

Amos maintained a strong scruple against wearing white socks—they harbored sweat
stains and became discolored in the wash. Unbearable. Instead, he’d slip on socks of vibrant
colors and patterns—red with Christmas ornaments in the summer, purple with hearts, or black with orange pumpkins all year long. Amos always wore Levis, even to bed.

Amos didn’t trust women even more than he didn’t trust men, but he couldn’t help but notice how beautiful dogs looked as they’d strut down the sidewalk beside their masters, smug and leashed. He wished he could own a dog, but he didn’t trust himself with one. Just the sight of dogs gave Amos sensations he grew to hate so much that one day he castrated himself with a pair of kitchen shears.

Surviving on Social Security for a mental health disability, never getting out much or ever
leaving Sabina, nobody noticed the change in Amos, but he always felt the dogs knew.

about the author
Anna Cates lives in Ohio with her two beautiful kitties and teaches English and education online. Her first full length collection of haiku and other poems, The Meaning of Life, is available at and Amazon:

Anna Cates in the Living Haiku Anthology: