by William Spell Jr.
You, curiously curled beneath the dirt
I scratched, silent and still, never to flirt
Around my ankles in that sidewise walk,
Those figure eights beneath my skirt.
What great negation sneaked from out the bright?
Crouched, waited for the right, oh just the right
Time within time to begin its sly stalk,
Pounced, impaled, sharp and cold as a winter’s night?
Why is it I can never account for
Nine? Were we so parted all that time, or
Were you in grave danger before my eyes?
I did not realize the hurt, the sore,
The fearful frights, that they would count for nine
When added up. I did not see the sign
Of one less life, nor did I hear your cries
Lament awry of some feline design.
In the next world, cats rule, and men are mute.
And when catmen die, their stiff bones commute
Behind the barn; else thrown in a dumpster.
And in life(s), between naps, enjoy pursuit
Of and by a giant race of whiskered gods
With muzzled pouts. Catmen who prance, who plod,
Who, caterwauled, groom, then (no shame) jumps her!
Else, neutered, lazes, longingly looks, or trods
Along a lumber fence in search of prey.
Mancat’s prey: something precious he can fray.
Catgod calls, unobeyed; tomcatmen stay
In vain—intent ambitions pawed for play.
In muscled stillness staring stands, tail flexed
(Although he has no tail to see) and next,
He blinks a blink, he turns his head away.
He thinks he thinks: purloined, perused, perplexed.
No goddess, I, in life now or worlds new.
And you, a cat, whose secret I construe:
I held you in my arms, you pleaded free.
And our world was complete when I held you.
Who’s this? Your friends in fur. They will not let
Me be. They know not absence. No, not yet.
You know why I loved you? You kneaded me.
Requiescat in pace, pretty pet.