i am a small orange cat
with my fur scratched by two-toned fingernails
copper-nickel and brass
and it feels good streaking me black
and my long tail stretches and rests
into cheap-looking baby days tasting of fish
fingers with my pink wee nose sniffing at
a future-scent it won’t ever recognise

raw instincts, untrained
sightless eyes long-lashed with irises diamond
blind for the endless racks of new things
new things i can buy because my paycheck is three figures each week
i am sixteen
and that’s from only one of my part-time jobs

my father explains one night at a kitchen table
using forks and spoons and a salt cellar
to animate housing estates and building societies
things i did not know ever
those bastards made the medicis look like altar boys
and i am a kitten no more no
a lithe thing still with two degrees claw-shredded
that i can no longer afford to have manicured
i bite into them because i can think
of nothing else to bite

and these eyes are no longer laden with jewels so
these lashes are brittle from cheap mascara and cheap flutters
my teeth hungry for something to do in the mornings
besides waiting for the discounted pouring of cream into my ikea dish
lapped with my dry tongue like sandpaper they say
razor with the fury for what i was promised