Peeping Tom

by Cathy Larson Sky

When Grey Cat comes to watch me bathe
He leaps to the windowsill and crouches
Roaster chicken style
His green eyes wide.

When the spigot roars
And the mirrors mist —
While the tub begins to fill
I undress.

Grey Cat observes my nakedness as
I scrub and soap. Roll like a whale.
Rinse. The drain gurgles and gulps.

When I finally stand, when
With dripping breasts and legs
I reach for the towel, pat dry

Grey Cat abandons his crouch, stretches.
Standing tall, he cries Touch Me. Towel
Tucked around my girth, I begin long

Strokes down his back to tip of tail.
He purrs, presses his silk skull hard
Against my palm. I am humbled, glad

Grey Cat does not judge, does not
Avoid the full-length mirror as I do;
Has no memory of the sweet, lost

Angularities I mourn, or the attentions
They once attracted. He does not despise
The festooned, the pendulous, the plumped-

Out places. To him I am magnificent, his
White mountain. He is my own creature,
Last of my admirers, nobler than any.

Cathy Larson Sky stays sane by writing poetry and playing music. Her work has won awards from the North Carolina Poetry Society and Kakalak poetry journal. In 2017, she was shortlisted for the Cathy Smith Bowers Chapbook Competition. Her chapbook Blue egg, my heart was published in 2014. After living in Spruce Pine, North Carolina for a decade, she is a convert to mountain living.

About Peeping Tom—This poem began with a description of a ritual between my gray cat and myself, and then became a soft elegy for what is lost with aging.