My cat pays visits in the afternoon,
like Cranford ladies after too much parsnip wine.
She carries confusion like a bonnet in a reticule,
the draggled hem of her tail is embroidered
with seeds and dead flower-heads.
I fear it is not courtesy that prompts her to rise
after half an hour, and seek the door,
regardless of how inclement the weather,
but some instinct, fluttering like a small bird,
and so it is, just hours
before I ask the vet for her quietus,
that I find her spread beneath the hedge
chilled by pouring rain,
her black fur peaked in startled punk clumps,
rheumy eyes wary about that invitation to stay alive.
Hannah Stone has published four solo collections, most recently the inaugural Maytree Press volume, Swn y Morloi. She convenes the poets/composers forum for the Leeds Leider festival, hosts Nowt but Verse for Leeds Library, and is poet-theologian in virtual residence for the Leeds Church Institute, writing weekly blogs exploring contemporary events through the medium of poetry. Fit to Bust, her most recent collaboration (with Pamela Scobie) is published by Runcible Spoon Press.