Ménage à sept
I've always loved animals
and I sought to love you,
exactly as you are,
obsessive about poetry,
straggly flyaway hair,
unfinished ink and all.
Initially, I was apprehensive
but nonetheless happy,
to welcome your three incontinent tomcats,
the pair of iguanas
and a large fish bowl full of piranhas,
the day you humped your trunk through my door.
I willingly accepted the new cleaning regime
necessitated by us being seven in a bed,
thought I adapted well
to boiling sheets in borax every day
and soon became accustomed
to the iguanas playfully nibbling my toenails
whilst using my feet
to maintain consistent body temperature at night.
I completely understand
that every relationship
is fraught with highs and lows,
so naturally I shared your dismay
when Curiosity the youngest tomcat of the three,
disappeared and you found whiskers
floating in the fish bowl one morning,
but unlike you I did not respond
by drinking a bottle and a half of strong brandy
every day at breakfast,
in an attempt to assuage my grief.
Not one of us is perfect
and I wholeheartedly acknowledge
that different people react to loss
in a variety of ways.
Although shaving your head
and wearing a robe made from coarse sackcloth
might be considered as acceptable
for a form of mourning in some cultures,
I feel bound to point out
it has done nothing to ignite
any lingering sparks of romance
we may have rekindled together.
I know you feel guilty
and have tried my best
to remain calm and supportive throughout,
hoping that this crisis in our household
is an unfortunate blip
which will heal itself naturally in time.
But as you are aware,
matters have taken an even more sinister turn
now that the largest of the piranhas,
the possessor of a particularly beady, avaricious stare,
who doubtless enjoyed the lion's share
of your poor dear Curiosity,
appears to be growing legs
at a somewhat alarming rate.
I calculate it will be only a few days
before this razor toothed, emergent amphibian
will be sitting up at table
seeking to share the delights
of our intimate candlelit suppers together.
Even the iguanas,
normally reluctant to display emotion of any kind,
appear perturbed at the prospect
and both remaining tomcats seem broody
and are refusing to eat anything at all.
I think it may be prudent therefore
to conceal your glass eye,
which you normally keep floating in a jar
at our bedside overnight,
in some safer hiding place
lest our fishy friend escapes under cover of darkness
and mistakes it
for his next tasty bite....