City of Cats

                         Palermo
In a city of cats shrill voices pierce rooms,
Clusters of jungle grow in parking lots,
Thick vines hang down from balconies,
Botanical gardens creep out of fences,
And alleyway become rutting grounds.
More than the all-night caterwauling,
All the terrifying and orgiastic voices,
Rabid loners with bared fangs drooling,
One senses the crumbling city overrun,
Felis libyca stirs, shadows stalk the ruins,
Nothing left but wild cats, and the rising sea.

And you beside me sleeping, fitful,
Night speaking through your dreams,
Manic laughter stilled to a purring breath,
Then the night cries of sexual shadows,
Then the fear again, ailurophobia,
Clawing the sheets as I stroke your hair.
She whom I knew, where is she now?
The body of a sphinx lies across the night.
I know her by the feral smile on your face,
And I who have been listening am afraid,
Afraid to sleep or to dream or to wake.

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