there is an emptiness
my memory cannot fill

the room is quiet, the air is still
you will not cross this floor
nor cast a shadow

but you will meet me in dreams
a tall dark woman with golden eyes
cloaked in velvet, brushed with star-light
you will lead me through the wild world
to the hiding places under trees

I will follow you
my heart beating in time
with every breath and silent step
and we will sleep
curled together in the night


in memory of Frida – my wild gypsy queen – gone to wander among the stars
16 or more years – she came to me as a street-wise, street-child who would not be held,
who would fight for her freedom to roam the wild places
a canny little thing – never once, to my knowledge, in a fight with another cat,
but I did find her watching once or twice
after a year or two of patiently letting her have her way, she walked in one day,
made eye contact, and decided to be more approachable
she loved to be brushed, she’d let her claws be trimmed without a fuss
she had a few health problems – hyperthyroidism, flea allergy, and later kidney problems
she had a love of ice cream I put down to a deprived childhood
during the last night of my handsome Thomas,
she stayed up all night, keeping vigil with me
and after he passed she became closer, snugglier
she’s been by my side constantly these last couple of years while I’ve read and written
my way into a deeper understanding of myself
this little shadow, this feisty willful girl – she deserves to have the best of times
in this new, mysterious chapter of her life

eye to eye

When she was young, she was abandoned,
she was pregnant, she was making do,
wary and opportunistic.

She was found, she was ill, her babies died,
and I had just seen the movie based on the life of Frida Kahlo,
when I saw this small, thin, lost soul in a cage,
for sale, marked down, half price.
Frida she was then, in an instant.

She came home with me.
She was half-wild, wouldn’t be held,
ate fast and then straight outside.
We found she’d made the compost bin her bed.

But she brought us gifts in those early times,
daily mice, some dead, some alive,
and three arranged in the driveway
like an installation artwork.

There was the rat, that looked like someone’s pet.
There was the tui, injured, flapping,
that I drowned in a bucket, while I cried
and she stretched out in the sun

There was the day I realised she was using mirrors
as a way of watching and staying safe.
There was the day she walked into the room and stopped,
and looked, eye to eye, heart to heart.
It proved to me, that patience is worth it, that patience heals.
Two years of waiting evaporated in her eyes.

Today she sleeps.
She sleeps and when she’s not sleeping, she wants to eat.
Having an appetite is a good thing.

And she has developed the habit of scratching the sofa, or trying to.
It’s a dance now, that we both share.
She stretches out a paw and looks my way.
I say no, and her leg lowers. She holds eye contact.
After all these years, she uses her eyes to get what she wants.

I move to the kitchen and squeeze cat food from the packet.
She eats, she climbs on me, and sleeps.

She knows who I am now.
She snores a little
and every breath
is the sound of trust.