(for Dani - part angel, part demon, all cat lover)
Her name was Snowflake.
No one recalled who gave her the name
nobody knew where she had come from
some things don’t need to be questioned.
Two fleshy pink swathes
cut the feline fur of her shoulder blades
an eleven branded from some past mystery.
Someone joked it was where her wings had been.
She never was much of a lap creature
except for the time the grandfather came
and an unnatural patience grew within her
a little kindness perhaps for his final year.
More than once the midnight peace was broken
by one of the children’s terrified shrieking
“It was Snowflake!” they’d wail – something about horns
but it was sacrificed to nightmare, forgotten in the morning.
Memories of such moments would occasionally flash
when a shadow passed over her knowing face.
There was a hushed discussion of what to do with her
but at least Jehovah’s witnesses now avoided their door.
One morning she commenced the fur ball dance
convulsing and choking as if birthing a universe
and out came a matted tangle of bleeding mulch
placental and raw, a chrysalis sticky as pitch.
The mass, dark as a pinot grape,
twitched and stutteringly began to sway.
It unfolded its corrupted flesh, opened like an egg,
then came the emergence of insectile legs.
Alien eyes of black antenna
surveyed the room of their birth
then followed two flags of kaleidoscope haze,
butterfly wings, it ascended and fled into the day.
Everyone knew that they’d witnessed this
but it would never be mentioned again.
Snowflake laboured her ageless eyes closed
as though nothing of note had occurred.
The winter they last saw her
snow had crusted the garden blue
they woke to the smell of cold
and the salted taste of loss.
In an unspoken pact her name would never be uttered
but each of them on occasion had cause to remember
the nightmares she lay like sweet meats on their beds
whatever she was, wherever she went.