For Dinah, the Adeney’s Cat

We present this work in honor of the poet’s 110th birthday.

Anne Wilkinson
1910 – 1961


Thirty elongated seconds
By the sun
We stare, the cat and I,
Strangers, cool and crouched
Behind unwinking green

Till flick
Along the spine, a whip
Of recognition cut
Our masks of fur and skin,
Cat-o’-nine-tails with a sting
Neither hinted at
By curl of lip
Or spitting tongue.

Then one cat turned
With poise of air
And washed a spotless paw,
The other took a tortoiseshell comb
And almost yawned
As she combed her tatless hair.

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