The cat’s meowing at nothing,
by Tara Teeling
while the night quietly buzzes about me
so naturally, my mind wanders back to you
and those other nights like this.
We’d held hands
or exchanged sleek-edged words,
or simply fell asleep next to each other,
dreaming impossibly, twitching uncontrollably,
vibrating in the dark.
The cat would curl in between us,
purring passionately and
stretching his grey-striped limbs,
making sure that all four paws
touched us both, connecting us,
like a timid child does
with angry, bitter parents.
The cat would rise about one,
leaving a warm, hollowed dent behind him;
an open invitation for one of us
to stretch our own limbs across the barrier
and feel nothing of the cold.
I’d wake, for no reason I knew of
other than the silence which called me,
and I’d listen to you breathe and moan
your own peculiar lullaby;
babbling about your day,
revealing all your secrets,
betraying your snake-skinned ferocity.
I’d listen to the hum of the house,
the safety of it gently rocking me,
tranquillizing me slowly,
but not completely.
There was so much to hear
when everything was quiet.
I thought I’d never sleep,
and felt anger rise like bubbling bile
because you were so unaware,
so far from where I was.
Damp with dreamy sweat,
you whispered softly to
the angels in your head,
and I eavesdropped,
because I’m woefully human.
I couldn’t sleep;
the air was possessed
with the murmurs and insinuations,
filling me with doubts and worry.
I could not rest,
so I thought myself wicked,
and the cat sat regal in the doorway.
I blamed him for rousing me,
and condemned you for keeping me up
with that unconscious contentedness
which gleamed in the slivers of moonlight.
These many nights later,
so many that I have forgotten
the feel of your skin against mine,
I still find myself peering into the darkness
gripped by the strange, nebulous anxieties
that I’d thought I’d left behind with you.
You’re likely sleeping soundly,
wherever your bed may be,
with slumberous visions illumed
by a more deserving source of inspiration.
Your thoughts stay white and pure,
far from the blackened nights
on which a wide-eyed feline shared your mattress.
I shall keep vigil,
with the mutters and mumbles
of an endless night,
and a sleepy cat
curled at my feet.