Claire, the flat-packed cat

Published at Ink, Sweat and Tears

Your crumbs have been under the highchair a fortnight now.
You were still so new to me.
You used to practice each and every burgeoning word,
clumsily cutting up syllables, thinning them out
as you bore down on your most recent find.
I want to hear you.
I can smell you on the fibres of Claire, the IKEA cat;
the flat-packed cat, your Mama and Diddy called her,
laughing at how hard it all was.
She I cradle at sleepy time,
kissing her matted head,
I am parched and angry and I ache
to feel your weight on my left arm.
You could cut off the blood in minutes.
Sometimes I hold her tight to my chest.
Perhaps in the afternoons, when I am tired and tense,
I smooth her face against my blood-shot cheeks.
We move in no less a general way than
would any toy cat and man dancing.
That’s when I feel your weight
on my skin,
like a package new delivered
as the Valium kicks in,
as I sway you slowly
to our song or maybe songs.