I love you nervously.
The neighbours know.

Are we manageable?
Can you say that word?
Are we even valid?

I love you mostly with
a careful paranoia and
at times a kind of folly.

There are laws, you know.
I think we ought to whisper.
You have overstayed.
You are one too many.


Rachel McAlpine

Je ne parle pas français



In the light you were kiss coloured
and you smelled of dog daisies
bitter sweet.
Puppies of cloud tumbled
into the carriage.

In the dusk you were softened
to tabby, your edges fluffy.
You mixed me into the air.
Through the bright window
the sky purred.

In the dark your edges
sharpened, hard bird
with lightning beak:
the moon cut you out of the black.


Rachel McAlpine

(Title is same as the short story by Katherine Mansfield that inspired this poem.)