Thursday, December 26, 2013


Painting by Sylvia Sampson

(for Rebecca)

Is that what all that napping’s
for? A U-shaped curl of fur and
squeezed-shut eyes to gather your strength
for some future villainy?

But we think: how defensively cute you are
just before those hips sway like a buoy and
your haunches grow taut at the thought
of launching. You’re a cautious intruder

at our table, fed up with the indignity of eating
kibble in a bowl on the floor by the trash.
One squirt of the mist bottle sends you fleeing
but you’ll slink back, forgiven and forgiving.

We know a killer sleeps somewhere in your DNA
despite all your listless snoozing in my chair.
You would kill a thing just for moving:
feathered or furred, or a piece of string

Life affords you so few opportunities. So when
one rises like a phoenix (or some bit of yarn)
over the crest of the couch, you leap at it.
You leap to break its neck.

Then come back to groom those silent paws.
As if nothing you’ve done could ever be wrong.

- Mark Sampson

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