The people in surrounding flats

  have robbed her of her kittens one by one

                    till she has none.

                       So now she howls for them all night,

heartbroken cat.

  This tragedy revisits her

          time           after            time,        comes

  almost wilfully to her

                        promiscuous existence.

And although it is a crime,

          perhaps it saves her children

  from a life of injuries,

  a destiny of poverty and illness.


                             her wails

                            impugn us all,

                           impugn the city,

                    curse the cruel night and the wide

                       wide             world,

beg back the idyll

of her little feckless family

         among the rubbish sacks,

                       the sunny mornings

  of mere days ago.

  Far down below

                  she weeps.

                Up here

  it's midnight

and I have no right to sleep.


words: Nicholas Messenger, New Zealand
photo: Sheila Lynne, Georgia (
Scarlets Walk)


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