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(Image: Louvre, 2004- Guillame Blanchard)


I have news for all you cat lovers:

apparently your pets want to kill you.

And this one keeps me under surveillance

as I water my host’s garden tonight.

Two gimlet eyes spy on me from the wall

which divides this property from next door’s.

I could turn the hose on my stalker, but

today I have been at the NGV*

to view how Ai Wei Wei celebrates cats.

He has over forty in his compound,

but, curiously, only one of them

makes an attempt to open doors.  This puss

looks like she could deal in execution.

Like Bastet, she has the soul of Isis.

Maybe she is trying to work out why

I am cultivating the flowers here,

in this inner city terrace’s  yard.

Where is the missing person I’ve replaced?

As Wei Wei replenished his bike’s basket

with a new floral tribute every day,

to give the cameras something to record,

I confess that I like to perplex her.

Under the kumquat tree she remains still-

a furry camouflaged CCTV,

unmoving as a mummified votive.

Will she spring to life and sink her needles

into my neck, for not being the one

who conforms to feline expectation?

Are there easier targets to pounce on,

with unsheathed claws, scattering the petals?

Maybe she is an opener of doors

and has succeeded in her freedom bid

and, though human, I am the one who is trapped,

because I accept that we are all watched

and that someone is trying to decode

the hieroglyphic details of our lives,

so that we feel that we are never alone

and inscrutable eye slits follow us.


  • NGV National Gallery, Victoria