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  • Soft pad-pad of measured pace,
    she saunters up the plank – three, four –
    meanders down the slope – five, six –
    a pause, a whiff of one’s Siberian neighbour through the fence,
    then around the corner on shaggy feet
    her relentless pursuit of majesty recommences.

    He rests on the hilltop, meanwhile,
    so quiet, so strong,
    his gaze languorous mid-distance,
    surveying his shrunken kingdom.

    At 3 precisely the doors lift.
    Each enters their separate tomb,
    devoid of life or decoration,
    where an unhunted, unchosen lump of dead meat awaits.
    No need to pounce or devour,
    They nuzzle delicately with perfect table manners,
    yet denied the pleasure of companionship,
    except for the dozens of pairs of eyes
    and flashbulb concert outside.
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