Wild Court

An international poetry journal based in the English Department of King’s College London

‘What the Arborist Saw’: a poem by Audrey Molloy

What the Arborist Saw

A cat, among the finches, the sparrows and the wrens.
A cat, stuck, in the highest fork of a sycamore
the afternoon he scooped her in one fluid
movement into his jacket and kept searching,
calling down to the upturned faces of the boys,
No sign of the rascal, must have done a runner.

He feeds her fingertips of milk all winter
and cabochons of mackerel from his plate.
She dreams of fork-tailed swifts like origami
folded from the sky, their spittle nests
as hard and round as teacups.

They go to work each morning, arborist and cat.
He snips and saws; she walks the boughs
in zero gravity and, when he’s rubbed the sawdust
from his eyes with the paddles of his thumbs,
he sees her carry every blue or speckled egg
in her ribbed mouth to his open palm,
and place each one, glass on velvet.