It’s Not The End I’m Frightened Of But The Unravelling

My cat wobbles from mat to bowl to bed,
a wonky sashay from which there’s no recovery.
She’s past sunlit sprawls, there’s just skulking,
sleeping, the disconsolate matting of fur.

Anxieties ring through the day, constant
as tinnitus. Starlings jabber in rotten eaves,
broadcasting the news that the fourth elm down
is marked for execution, ring scored round trunk
to show the men who come with saws which must go.
I scan my own tree daily for disease,
scared I’ll have to turn it in.

It seems likely the creep of the beetle
is unstoppable – it is almost at the door.

I bury my fret in wet soil, in my lover’s neck,
in books and books. None tell the story
that needs telling. The skies are buzzing,
I hear the beat of idiocy in wires. Everything
makes me cry. Twilight crickets throb in chorus,
asking how much will it hurt? There are angels –
shining, impotent – in headlights. I listen
to the same song for weeks. I drown my phone.
Tuck cyanide pills in envelopes for the children,
scrape expensive treats under the cat’s nose,
barely raise a thrum with tickles behind her ear
as she gently forgets how to be.

I want to hurry on the end.
I want it never to arrive.



Lucy Cage lives in Brighton and writes about age, rage and motherhood. She’s been published by Magma, and shortlisted twice in the Brighton Poetry Festival Prize.