Ode to My Leopard Print Coat

after Neruda

Ode to My Leopard Print Coat | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Image courtesy of Wikimedia/gary Whyte

If there must be
winter at least
I will wear this
leopard print
cape of a coat,
thick faux fur
smelling of dried
jasmine and sweat,
drawing friends near
to stroke gingerly
the animal of it.
I leave it
in a field,
and it becomes
a fox and her kits’
most luxurious bed.
I dangle
raw meat,
and a sound—
part purr, part growl—
rises from
the plush.
If I rest it
on my lap, it coils
fevering under
my touch.
Sometimes I
finger its folds,
pet it with
a rare patience,
and am sure
it sighs.

Carrie Etter is an American poet who has lived in England for 20 years. She holds the position of reader in creative writing at Bath Spa University. Her most recent collection is The Weather in Normal (U.K.: Seren; U.S.: Station Hill, 2018).

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