"Feral Kittens Under the Rainwater Tank"


Anywhere else and they would have been blasted.
A tank springing a leak would be a sacrifice
worth making, even in drought.

But near to the house, surrounded by lawn
battling to retain a tinge of green, watered
with the red dregs of the top dam,

they'd played their cards right. A gamble
though. Being born wild and spitting so close
to the house. The queen tucked into the dark,

narrow space between tank platform and dirt,
hellmouth siphoning light to make wildfire
at human kid's eyes looking in, searching

for the source of kitten sounds. 'I bet their
old man was Red Tom! I can see one of his
colour. He won't get to see them grow up,

but they'll see 'im hangin' on the fence,
strung up by his gonads!' The mother, all
mothers, hissed from deep within, warning!



This article first appeared in the 13 February 2012 issue of the New Statesman, Boris vs Ken