Forest Cat

December, we moved in.
So, mornings, when we drew aside 
the bedroom curtains, the sky was
still half dark, the moon old ash,
inert and floating on
a liquid air in which our bodies
quivered, our hair lifted,
our toes sought footholds,
numb in its cold deep.

Frost carapaced the grass,
the poor shorn trees.
The garden paths were slick, duplicitous.
We saw the cat, a phantom
of the tundra, materialise
and move itself like liquid,
its boneless contours
pouring down the fences,
flowing like mist from one lawn to another.

It visited us often, carrying 
the silence of the snow,
the grace of silence,
and we watched out for it
and called each other
to come and see it
crawling through the morning,
a ghost left over from the night before.

Now days grow shorter and
the air is milder.
The earth has thawed.
The earth exhales and stirs.
Light glows a little,
yellow at the edges.
The forest cat’s no longer haunting us.
Its body blurs back in 
that winter sleep,
buries itself below
the falling dark.


Kitty Coles is one of the two winners of the Indigo Dreams Pamphlet Prize 2016 and her debut pamphlet, Seal Wife, will be published in August 2017.