365 Poems/7 – Jake


You let me stroke your delicate throat,

with my fore and index fingers.

Your purrs rumble, a steady, calming rhythm.


I don’t know your whole history, only snippets,

that your first owner is in prison,

and that he might have fed you drugs.


That you were given to the lady

in the flat underneath him,

who is now in rehab for heroin addiction,

and who didn’t acknowledge your existence.


Might explain why you hide under the bed,

and turn your back on me, after hours

of being good and adventurous.


When you sleep, you remain tense

around the head and neck for half an hour,

then you let go and I can see the full size

of your long, flexible, steel coloured body.


I think of your wild cousins that could kill

and devour the population of a village.


I am learning new things about you,

that staring is an aggressive act,

but blinking and looking away is reassuring.


That calling you in a higher voice

can cut through lower pitched background noise.

You’re automatically alert to squeaks and clicks.


You still have fear of strange people,

are thrown into turmoil by the arrival of visitors


But we have formed a bond. I know because your pupils

dilate when you lead me to the landing,

roll on your back and expose your belly.