Ann J black cat


On the night before the little black cat
was due to be put to sleep for the cancer,
she left the room she had chosen to make her home
those last two years, in the house she had slipped into
through the cat flap, a refuge from the hunger
and the toms that kept her womb filled.

She left the room she had found for herself
where all the tastiest food she could eat
was placed daily before her:
milk and biscuits and gourmet tins
that made her sing and shine beneath the hands
that stroked her.
                  She left the utility room
that had become her world, with its washing machine
and freezer and clothes hanging there to air

and visited all the rooms in the house, one by one,
with methodical care.
                      Her people found her
on a kitchen chair in the morning,
her poor mouth dripping down her black fur
but still, her purr sounding out
around the room

and in the vet’s surgery
on the treatment table,
she sang to the last
that same tune.

From Going Gentle (Gomer, 2007)

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