Sunday, December 21

The First of May

ONE OF OUR cats, Pippa, is sat atop a pile of magazines on the coffee table, staring at me as I read. She tells me that Pippa is my favourite; her round, unfeline eyes; the markings that constantly cause her to look concerned; the soft fur; the anger; the attitude; the fact that she was raised by cats, not by humans; her high-pitched and moaning meow; her small size; the victim to her bigger and older brother. She is staring at me with a look that I can neither distinguish between a desire to slay or nuzzle – it goes through me, unflinching at my return until slowly she turns her head and goes to the water-bowl.
Anne Sexton in my hand. A monochromatic cover of a lady with thick, shuffled lips and poems in a classical typeset that drew me to the pressing in the first place.
A gift.
She was keen that no-one lift the book off the shelf – arranged by me one quiet Sunday afternoon in order of publishing house – lest they spot the inscription on the first page, hiding it between much larger books so that, even on inspired evenings, I am stretched to find it.
Until the doctor sorts everything out, the come lands on my belly or hers. Mostly it sinks into the sheets—‘We should wash these sheets,’ she says. It has been a while. Out of nowhere—
‘You don’t write about me anymore.’
Bad feelings disappear soon enough and the good milk from that everyday love is enough for me so that no-one else need hear it.
My memory is fading these days, but I have inscriptions in the front of books to help me. Anne Sexton says all these sorts of things in poetical romance and then I stick my two pence in the front, spoil the artistic balance; exclaim how much I wanted to fuck her on the first of May.
Her neck is similar to Pippa’s: both delicate enough to notice.
We should wash the sheets again. I should write about her again, just as I should write again. The fullest of moons, the bright moon, the lemon curd moon hanging over the skyline and I think that in the future I will either refer to these days as when I got bored of trying to write, or when I kept trying to write. Varnish the garden shed; the wood’ll last longer.
Synchronised, we wake up. She smells of booze and with less sleep than I. She holds the covers and the cats swarm about us for their routine of embrace and breakfast. The cheekbones are out of focus, their lines unsteady blurred creasing with smiles. My lips find her, my hands find her, my fingers find her. She’s just the end of a whole lot of tired and accidental evolution, finished in bed with me, her legs splayed appropriately enough to chase away my sleep and bring her – arms flung back – to orgasm against the top of the bed. It is Saturday morning. Why don’t I write about anything anymore but keep on as though something half-decent will emerge? It will emerge screaming and I will collapse with faeces running down my leg.
She is very much like a pip, returning from her water-bowl, sated. She hops up on my stomach as I reread the inscription at the front of the book and note the date. So often I exist in memories and, though she is absent tonight, I miss her but not clean bedsheets.

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