What a pity


I’m not sure that it’s pity I
feel for you, not rightly sure.
Remember last week when I called on by –
wished straight up I’d never made your door.

I think it’s more loathing I feel:
that I visit in the hope of
finding you dead – I think that’s for real –
to verify a total death of love.

But we are of course so civilised.
You pour me a drink I wish were
ten times as strong. I let my eyes slide
slyly round your room. You almost purr.

As for your cat – a she, now ‘it’ –
it spits at me. At least someone is
honest! She (it) is no longer just a bit
for any old tom. (All that nasty business.)

As you, too, claim you’re not. You’re not
taking shit from no one, most of all
me: you’re not just a hot twot to trot,
a good-time girl giving the blokes a ball.

I nod and sip my drink. (Is this
tomcat’s piss she’s poured me?)
I could as well be researching a thesis on love,
and love’s death; and of the pity.

'What a Pity' from Doubtless: New and Selected Poems (Craig Potton Publishing, 2008), Sam Hunt 2008, used by permission of the author. Recording from the Aotearoa New Zealand Poetry Sound Archives (2004).

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