When Claude Debussy
died our friend
Ljuba who lives in

Amsterdam
by the canal
decided from now on

her life would be
catless—no more
midnight serenades,

no more 2 a.m.
scratching at the
window, no more

visits to the
vet with frost-bitten
ears and battle

wounds. Now she would
travel. She practised
place names aloud—

‘Grand Rapids’
‘Patagonia’
savouring the sound—

until, that is, a
ginger stray half-grown
with paws like

a lion cub came
by. His purr was
a consonant,

his growl spoke
of the Caucasus. She
called him Pushkin.