Teach me the language of Cat;
the slow-motion blink, that crystal stare,
a tight-lipped purr and a wide-mouthed hiss.
Let me walk with a saunter, nose in the air.
Teach my ears ways to ignore
names that I’m called. May they only twitch
to the distant shake of a boxful of biscuits,
the clink of a fork on a china dish.
Teach me that vanishing trick
where dents in cushions appear, and I’m missed.
Show me the high-wire trip along fences
to hideaway places, that no-one but me knows exist.
Don’t teach me Dog,
all eager to please, that slobbers, yaps and begs for a pat,
that sits when told by its owner, that’s led on a lead.
No, not that. Teach me the language of Cat.
from The Language of Cat and Other Poems (Frances Lincoln, 2011), © Rachel Rooney 2011, used by permission of the author and the publisher