The car swoops under the tunnel of leaves
As I drive my old cat to be put down
I think of a neighbour I rarely meet,
Heavy, unfriendly, she rushes to town
To buy new lace curtains, whose starchy clouds
Blow from her window, as leaves drift in heat,
Lovely to her as each tawny-ticked hair
Of the tabby’s stripes, white glow of his feet

As I lower his weak warmth down on the slab,
As his air, his last voice, leaves with a sigh,
He is gone and gone, past the busy hush,
The white room’s pain.  In the wild garden, high
Over the railway, I dig where he sat,
Soaked up the late sun, gazed through dapple of bush,
As wind steals the hot fragrances from her meat,
As gold smokes the ash trees, as leaves flow and rush.

Alison Brackenbury

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