Caroline Carver


Today the whole world wants to cram through my window
bringing the smell of desert    and that quick change of temperature
between cold-finger night and blast furnace heat of day
between sidewinder snakes gyrating to their holes   and scorpions
emerging in Silurian suits of armour
                                                      and there’s a panther in
the room 
long elegant body lying like a coat  
thrown carelessly over the back of a chair   
chin resting as comfortably as if he’s in the forked branch of a tree
tail twitching    just at the tip    as his nose tucks
into the small space between curtain and window
With luck he’s only a time-traveller    an inoffensive ghost
who wants to renew his penchant for our family
remembering days as pet of an Egyptian pasha
who let him pad round the table at dinner-parties
before settling behind my mother-in-law
eyeing her plate    her back    her smooth uncovered arms
while he panted and swallowed   licking his dry lips 
shifting his weight from paw to paw as each new course was served: 
venison    lark’s tongues    wild partridge    (I have some
hanging in the pantry now)   perhaps that’s why he’s here
pricking his missionary ears
turning his beautiful square head towards me    
eyes still cast in some dark labyrinth

CAROLINE CARVER HAS PUBLISHED FOUR collections, her most recent, on the subject of child abuse, is Tikki Tikki Man from Ward Wood, published in 2012. Like her previous work, this book is influenced by her life in Bermuda, Jamaica and Canada, where she lived before moving to Cornwall. UK. Her work’s been translated into Italian and Romanian, and she’s won or placed in many competitions. She won the National Poetry Prize in 1998, the Italian Silver Wyvern in 2008, the Guernsey “On the Buses” in 2010, and was Commended in the 2010 National.



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