Of all the celebrated beauties of her day,
she was the most exotic and conspicuous.
The ‘fur coat and no knickers’
of the powerfully slouching beast,
a cougar, that she led on a leash
whenever she went shopping, excited
speculation of the obvious sort;
and yet her intimate friends
reported she was chaste, piously
inclined, devoted to charitable works
and kind to the sick and dying.
Still, the paparazzi, vying to get
the best and closest shots they could –
or dared, with such a supple, watchful,
speed-packed, fang-flashing pet
to be wary of – cared nothing for that.
What they and the world saw
was the classic scary couple:
glamorous woman and killer cat –
image answering to some delinquent need
of the masculine mind.
from The Curiosities, unpublished poems, ? Christopher Reid 2013, used by permission of the author.