you sheltered the flame
so she could pattern the night
now the sun shines through
and pierces your dark centre
while the flame sleeps
unable to sleep
I sit by the window
looking out into darkness
into my knowledge
of what lies beyond the glass
my eyes see nothing
but the soft black mounds of hills
given shape by the merest light
of moon and star
filtered through cloud
and there is stillness and quiet
the night-quiet when the wind has calmed
and tree ferns hang their fronds down
relaxing their leafy arms into the dark
while the birds sleep in the trees
there are creatures about
snails edging across the driveway
cats patrolling their borderlands
and a moth that stumbles across this page
on its way towards the torchlight
that lights my pen
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.
black cat dozes
on the wooden floor
relaxed in the sun
until her black fur has absorbed
as much sunlight as it can
and she is close to over-heating
then she moves slowly
finds a shady spot
curls around her own body heat
and the work of sleep continues