the cats cafe

a third place
brimming with

burlap sacks
an indoor jungle gym
bunches of catnip
a fireplace
scratching posts
litter boxes
windows that let in plenty of light
hand-trimmed wood mouldings
a ceiling bright in colour
light-hearted in mood
a set of tableaux
full of wit
(a testament to the
skilled fools who built it)

and a raffish crew of sages
that make teatime


two tabbies
one blind
one charged in expression

one white
with a cleft lip and pieces missing
from his cauliflower ears

one tortoise-shell
who takes naps on the fridge

two ginger and white
who are brother
and sister

one black and white
with vaudevillian whiskers

one black
with a portly figure and
bette davis eyes

a room of impromptu cuddles
allegory of the power of silence
virtue and nobility

this is not another cute pet poem

mellowed by indolence
it’s a panegyric
on perfect listeners

an overture to
the intrigues of a fraternity
that has developed aloofness
into a fine art

a few grains of truth
were concealed
in these notes on yearning

but only a set of pure eyes
will be able to spot them

Raphael d’Abdon was born in Udine (Friuli) and lives in Pretoria (South Africa). He is the author of three poetry collections, sunnyside nightwalk (Geko, 2013), salt water (Poetree Publishing, 2016) and the bitter herb (The Poets Printery, 2018), and the editor of the volumes I nostri semi – Peo tsa rona. Poeti sudafricani del post-apartheid (Mangrovie, 2008), and Marikana. A Moment in Time (Geko, 2013). His poems are published in various journals, magazines and anthologies, and he performs regularly in South Africa and internationally.

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