The Chasm Between Us
by Scott Quinn
My partner and I plop into bed,
Ready for comfort in each other’s arms.
Such a blissful notion,
And a naïve one,
For we are not alone.
There arises between us
An interloping space
That cannot be broached,
At least not with any lasting effect.
It begins with a bounce,
Then a poke,
Then a demanding look
As the Fox Terrier
Reclaims his daytime territory
From misguided humans
Who mistakenly believe it to be their sleeping nest.
Inserting himself horizontally in the bed
So that minimal space remains for
He then allows them,
With both insistence and feigned apathy,
The right to stroke his fur
As payment for squatting down for the night.
Soon he is joined by his nemesis,
The mistress of the night,
Whose wide whiskers
And pitch black fur
Portend of dark omens.
With her inboard motor
At full throttle
She treads with deliberate pace
Across each human,
Kneading all soft tissue with
Her Siamese technique.
The Fox Terrier begrudgingly
Allows her admittance
While forbidding the Airedale,
Three times his size
Yet with only one-third the temper,
From entering the entering room.
With teeth bared from a narrow snout,
His alien grimace and growl
(The likes of which have not been seen
Since Sigourney Weaver saved humanity in space)
Cause all critters to flee except for the black cat,
Whose path he dare not cross.
They lay between us.
Twenty-five pounds of snoring dog,
Miraculously claiming over half the bed,
Until, with no assistance from His Majesty,
Who lies rigid like a wheelbarrow full of bricks,
He is turned vertically for the night.
And two feet away,
Our masseur also settles in for the night.
Two balls of fur
Set aside their enmity for a few hours
To share the bed
Nuzzled up against their human companions.
Between my partner and me,
A space known as “Pet Alley”.
A miracle of Biblical proportions occurs
As the fox and the feline lay down together.