Dead Tomcat

Michael Peach

I wonder who installed you here
Amid the olive trees,
Surrounded by fresh blades of grass
And red anemones.

Was it perchance the motorist
Who caused your ninth-life’s loss,
Or one of the Christian pilgrim dears
Seeking their Holy Cross?

Whatever the truth, here you’ve lain
Beside the museum fence
From Passover Eve to Easter Day.
Oh, won’t you vanish hence!

For this is part of my chosen route,
Which dodges the tourist shoals,
To the Gan ha-Botani lying beyond
Where I rest my weary soul.

In a day or two – God help my nose! –
You’re going to stink to heaven.
But mark these words, O grinning bag,
I’m totally void of leaven.

True, I’m inclined to raise you up
By means of that ginger tail,
And fling you o’er the museum wall
To confound the tourist trail.

Yet, stinking was your natural course
Both in and out of doors,
And shame would never cross your mind
When marking what was yours.

As to the tree whose ancient roots
Will absorb your putrid flesh,
Together with the birds and plants
He’ll merely feel more fresh.

And so I am obliged to bear
The burden of your state,
To hold my nose, beat off the flies;
Accept this scene as fate.

For, after all, it won’t be long
Before the summer heat
Has rendered you quite odourless
And killed the lovely sweets.

Meantime I leave this little mutt,
At whom you used to hiss
To roll with joy upon you neck
And shower you with piss.

20 April 1992


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