Gray unpainted pews in a gray unpainted station
hints of brown beneath the dust
no train, no bus.
The man in the pew ahead is holding
a huge black cat
long and thin, of silken soot.
He holds it like a baby at his shoulder,
rocking forward, pats its neck
and the cat glares back at you.
Rocking back they creak the pew
and the panther takes a swipe.
Taloned paw on snake-thin foreleg,
lifted high in graceful motion,
flung down, stretching out to strike,
but not quite reaching eye and lip
The wind of a near miss ruffles your hair
and all you can do is gag and stare
The yellow eye is welded to your own
and every slap comes closer…