Literary Yard

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‘Pallas’s cat’ and other poems

By: Christian Ward

Pallas’s cat
Otocolobus manul

The OG grumpy cat. It memes
itself every time it steps outside,
every pika and squirrel
a flashbulb never cooling down.
A chubby pile of grey fur
reshaped by cold-pressed code.
Perhaps, instead, it dreams
of a domestic life – the home
a temple for its cult, every shadow
bowing in praise of its existence.
Perhaps it dreams of this easy life
for its kittens curled like lungs
in the burrows. Perhaps. Or maybe
it prefers to be framed daily in the cold
and snow, every paw print an angel
designed to make you blink again
and again and again.


Union Island Gecko
Gonatodes daudini

Caribbean jewel, no bigger
than the width of a thumb,
you wow with a fractal
patterned back. A solar
battery for skin. Lava-orange
eyes. Sickle curved tail.
Fingernail sized eggs prized
more than caviar. Poachers
might turn over every rock
but you’d Where’s Wally?
them every time. Regal
as you are, you spare them the Tower.
Walk past the palm trees
on the island and watch their shadows
bend towards the gecko
for guidance, a sign of faith.


Pelican Eel
Eurypharynx pelecanoides

Reincarnated pelican, you scrawl
across the screen in a Victorian signature.
A flourish of a sine wave, oil black.
Once triggered, you inflate jaws
to become a night-dark pelican,
ready to swallow or scare. A misshapen
handbag for a face, carrying your wits
for a weapon. Trolls might liken
you to an Alien knockoff; some cheap
jump scare. You know better. The waters
warp while you move, every current
bending in reverence.


  1. For Christian Ward the cat, the Gecko and the pelican mean as much as any human being. You can give such descriptions only when you love the animals genuinely. It’s a treat reading these poems.

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