MARK PIRIE is a Wellington writer, editor, publisher and critic. From 1995-2005 he initiated, co-edited and produced the literary magazine JAAM (Just Another Art Movement). His works include 21 books of poems, a book of song lyrics, and a book of short fiction. In 1998 he edited The NeXt Wave anthology of New Zealand ‘Generation X’ writing. He currently edits the HeadworX New Poetry Series and the poetry journal broadsheet, and co-organizes the Winter Readings series of events in Wellington. A verse novel, Tom, has just been published by Poets Group, Christchurch. The poem "Your Secret Life" was previously published in his book, Poems for Poets: Dedications and Elegies (ESAW, 2004).
Your Secret Life
(For Katherine Mansfield)
It's like the day the cat left
and never came back.
You may have seen it surely:
a paw stepping out, a flash of fur
across the street. You had just given
it milk, treated it with utmost kindness.
It was as if it were a friend of yours perhaps.
It was part of your life and even,
yes, a new life never begun. It would
happen, oh, about nine times; you were
sure of that, and meanwhile those gentle sounds,
those moments of purring would be the past.
In the future it would be just you and you again.
But the cat?, you ask, well, that was also the end.