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by Elisabeth Hallett
Three guesses how this long and scarlet scratch
Came to be on my back.
"I suppose you were walking by the riverbank
Half hidden among the young pale willows
When a fisherman's hook
Caught through your shirt
And made a rip in your old blue shirt
And hurt your back."
"It was the cat,
Jumping from the floor to your shoulder
Because you were stirring a cup of milk
In the shadowy afternoon kitchen,
Who felt herself slip
And clawed your back."
"It was your lover who made that mark
As you lay with him last night in the dark."
Wrong, all wrong --
I have no cat
And I never walk by the riverbank
And as for my lover, you well know
Passion could never take him so.