Coming Home to the Feral Body
Know how to tuck up small
in dark places—when to move
fast and quiet.
Breathe slow through your fingers
and let it out easy through your nose,
not moving the tiniest dust ball.
Slide your body, flat-nosed against
the baseboard so it doesn’t hurt
as much if the broom finds you.
Wait motionless until they’re busy,
like a sparrow watching a cat.
Flatten your frame like a snake
on a branch if you make it to
the neighbor’s tree.
Light as a squirrel—leap—
trust the branch to catch you.
Notice how your fingers
match the shape of the latch
when you pinch it open;
how the hinge doesn’t
squawk when you push the gate
outward and dash down the alley.
Ten ounces of ermine fluff, you stood
on the flat of my hand when we first met—
your deep-sea eyes at my wrist, your cork-screwed
tail at my finger-tips. “Tough little kit,”
your breeder said, “part-Siamese, mutant—
we thought of you.” Match made, we share space
covered in white fur, combat with rodents,
warm wraps on the couch. Daily, we embrace—
quick bumps only a fellow like you gives—
nose to nose with briefest whisker flick.
Some nights you come home bloody. You’ve lost teeth
—so have I, but, unlike me, you’re as sleek
as when we met. What the neighbors think
is none of our business. We’re happy.
Other girls, prettier, younger than me,
come around, asking, “Is that one yours?”
“Yes,” I say, smiling as you strut through my door.
Kris Demien lives with multiple species in Portland, Oregon. Her work appears in VoiceCatcher, The Poeming Pigeon/Sports issue and at: https://aboutplacejournal.org/issues/when-we-are-lost-how-we-are-found/creatures-and-water/kris-demien/