Pet Lessons

I don’t see cats chatting with their mates, 
lamenting their work performance,
dissecting their every yowl and mew,
wishing they’d said it differently,
if they should have stayed late, wondering
how the other cats might judge them.

I don’t see dogs lying awake at night
turning that conversation over and over
in their minds, worrying over it like they would
a bone. They don’t replay the moment
when they stole the biscuit, wrecked the cushion
or just obeyed their instincts.

They have no interest in calories when they eat,
insist on a daily walk with a good friend,
chase things that excite them, and are
willing to take the lead. They nap when
tired and lick the ones they love—
that is all.

Melinda Szymanik is a writer of poetry and children’s fiction, including picture books, short stories and novels, some of which have won awards. Her poems have previously appeared in Poetry Aotearoa Yearbook, NZ Poetry Shelf, and takahē.