Meryl Natchez

The Present

The ultimate gift
your cat bestows
is the partly eaten body
of the animal it has stalked
and tortured and tasted:
tailless lizard, yellow tusk 
of the mole, the enormous 
rat, eviscerated,
the delicate pinfeathers
of the baby oriole
that stretch in a fairy trail
down the stairs.
But the strangest gift
was the exquisite
furred thimble of a bat
found whole 
in front of the TV,
its hooked wings 
thin as a smoke-colored
diaphragm that stretches 
between the known world
and the one 
where cats
hunt in the dark.