the cat came back

I saw a cat that looked like you
and wondered if it might be true
that nurse who scanned the chip was wrong
and handed me a different dead cat all along

but how could that be? a chip’s a chip
I can’t imagine she’d have trouble with it
it’s just – you looked exactly the same
and nuzzled my hands when I said your name

Solly was really a brilliant cat
if Death could be tricked he’d be up for that
sneaking out from under their cloak
leaping to life from the side of the boat

but black and white’s a common kinda pattern
from Kathmandu to downtown Manhattan
and I felt the stab of last year’s sorrow
when I saw he lacked a mask like Zorro

Solly

Solly was a supercat
with a mask & gloves & pointy beard and all that
getting into the usual scrapes
that supercats in capes
the world over do
like hiding in bamboo
and unexpectedly leaping out at you
like sitting at the tailiest top of the tallest wall
and calmly looking down on us all
like going out in the rain
and coming straight back in again
or snoozing under the rhubarb
in the overgrown backyard
watching the finches giving it some
round & round the feeder in the shady viburnum
Solly was a chancer, a pawsy, floorsy advancer,
a sofa surfer and tall grass prancer
a sunlight finder, dinner reminder
an expert in the art of the happy head-nuzzle
the underbelly scruzzle
the mid-eared scraggle
the reverse flick & lazy lick
the no-way-are-you-getting-me-in-that-carrier trick
the fully hypnotised pet
curled up as small as a medium-sized cat can get
cradled in our daughter’s arms
as she softly sings her charm
rocking gently from side to side
locking eyes
young woman, young cat
and how happy he is and we are for that
how he reaches up slowly to touch her on the chin
with the claws of his paws all carefully drawn in

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