Celebrate #BlackCatAppreciationDay. You are very welcome to join Valerie Bence and I. I will feature your published/unpublished poetry/short prose/artworks about/mentioning black cats. Please include a short third person bio.

pilchCat        feline anorexia        draft


Before
‘’Please eat’’ I said as in that remembered time,
to a child, but yellow eyes blink
he turns his head away from food, all food, any food.
I watch his life leak away.

He moves less and less, a fading black line
a kitten curve of spine and hips,
just scaffolding below stretched skin;
had there been snow
he would barely have made a dint.

No more meeting me at the door after work
his call not a meow, more a weakening
duck-like half-quack.
He would perch on my shoulder,
parrot to my pirate, balancing

light as a feather on the birds he watches
no energy for anything but purring.
Back at the vets he was well-behaved, compliant –
wise he seemed, as we discussed life and death;
a week of treats and love, sleeping on my bed

after
then, a single needle in cool black coat,
between one breath and another he left afloat
on dreams of owl prowls. The tiny tinny bell I still hear
would tell of ins and outs in dark and light
and all the gifts brought in from night.

After, I look up and notice a bundle of balloons
caught high in the aspen over the road,
they deflate slowly one by one.
I loved enough to do it. Watching the trapped balloons
I hope someone loves me enough to do the same.

-Valerie Bence

Bios and Links

-Valerie Bence

After a university career, Valerie completed a poetry MA at MMU in 2018. She is an ekphrastic poet encompassing artworks, truth, memory, place and time. Her first collection was Falling in love with a dead man (Cinnamon Press 2019) and second Overlap (the Emma Press 2022). She was shortlisted for the Poetry School/Nine Arches Primers 4 (2018), Fish Poetry prize (2019), longlisted for the Ginkgo Prize (2019) and has poems in several anthologies. She has worked with the British Museum and the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge. She is a Mum and a Nonna and lives in Bucks. 

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