You sawed holes in the fence
where the planks met the ground,
imagining how much space
spines need around a soft body.
A small wooden house
nestles under the rosemary, filled
with clean straw you scrabbled
loose from the solid pet-shop bale.
The wall along the side alley
where wind traps curled leaves
to heap on cracked slabs
is the perfect place
to leave cat food, never milk,
as dusk blurs rooftops and trees.
You don’t know whose hunger
clears the food by morning;
a neighbour’s cat, the dog-fox
on his rounds, or the sleek brown
tumble of rats, quickly clearing
the ground, stealing into shadow.
You always hope the hog-house,
cat food, fence-holes may be found
by the snuffling secrecies of the one
you saw in the garden two years ago.
Angela France’s publications include ‘Occupation’ (Ragged Raven, 2009), ‘Lessons in Mallemaroking’ (Nine Arches, 2011), ‘Hide’ (Nine Arches 2013) and The Hill (Nine Arches 2017). Angela teaches creative writing at the University of Gloucestershire and in various community settings. http://ninearchespress.com/publications/poetry-collections/the%20hill.html