Stephen Robertson

Slanting Lines

One of our cushions

(for Jenny, and with apologies to B)

One of our cushions is missing—

I’m sure that there’s one I can’t find.

How could it suddenly vanish?

It hasn’t just fallen behind.

Two of our cushions are missing

from the sofa just outside the door.

It really is very annoying—

I hope we don’t lose any more.

Three of our cushions are missing.

I don’t know quite what to say.

It seems that there must be some rotter

who’s sneaking our cushions away

Four of our cushions are missing.

It’s getting beyond a bad joke.

Destroying our comfort’s as rotten

as stealing a library book.

Five of our cushions are missing.

How can we counter-attack?

Perhaps if we asked him politely

he’d remorsefully put them all back.

Six of our cushions are missing.

The culprit must now be unmasked.

It’s becoming quite clear that the hour

for soft pussy-footing is past.

It can’t be a student or fellow—

the thief’s much too cunning for that.

There’s only one possible answer:

this cat-burglar’s Buster the cat.