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February — Margaret Atwood

Winter. Time to eat fat
 and watch hockey. In the pewter mornings, the cat,
 a black fur sausage with yellow
 Houdini eyes, jumps up on the bed and tries
 to get onto my head. It’s his
 way of telling whether or not I’m dead.
 If I’m not, he wants to be scratched; if I am
 He’ll think of something. He settles
 on my chest, breathing his breath
 of burped-up meat and musty sofas,
 purring like a washboard. Some other tomcat,
 not yet a capon, has been spraying our front door,
 declaring war. It’s all about sex and territory,
 which are what will finish us off
 in the long run. Some cat owners around here
 should snip a few testicles. If we wise
 hominids were sensible, we’d do that too,
 or eat our young, like sharks.
 But it’s love that does us in. Over and over
 again, He shoots, he scores! and famine
 crouches in the bedsheets, ambushing the pulsing
 eiderdown, and the windchill factor hits
 thirty below, and pollution pours
 out of our chimneys to keep us warm.
 February, month of despair,
 with a skewered heart in the centre.
 I think dire thoughts, and lust for French fries
 with a splash of vinegar.
 Cat, enough of your greedy whining
 and your small pink bumhole.
 Off my face! You’re the life principle,
 more or less, so get going
 on a little optimism around here.
 Get rid of death. Celebrate increase. Make it be spring.