A Tail’s Length by June Glasgow

Janet WuJune Glasgow is an Australian poet and writer of short stories. She is also the co-editor of a sporadically circulated zine, Bir & June (see for her unprinted works). In her spare time, she paints and enjoys studying animal behaviours. She is currently residing in Adelaide with her cat.



A Tail’s Length


He sees her in her bed.

She sleeps with her legs parted slightly, her belly voluptuous and full, her nipples placed daintily round and stiff as flower pods on the icing of a cupcake.

Fat pigeons fly in flocks next door, cooing, grooming, shitting on the tiles.

His head is held high as he peers over the bed. He stands behind the door half ajar, careful not to wake her. If he could touch her, he would.

In his head, he often wonders what she would look like fur-less. Or if her fur takes on a different color. Black gives her lips a mystic sheen, which he desires in the female sex. He thinks of the soft underside of her arms when he humps the fleece blankets at night. He humps it until the image of her, an antique Egyptian Queen, tall, agile, majestically black, fades into cold clouds on a clear autumn evening.

But here she is, open, sweet, so unlike her when she is awake. He wants to be just slightly closer so he could catch the scent off her tail that dangles off the edge of the bed. He tries to place his paws as lightly as feathers as he treads the floor of wood.

When she is awake, she never allows him so close. She knows even eunuchs can rape. The dark alleys in the Eastern suburbs where she strayed as a kitten taught her that. Gender is a disadvantage.

So she disassociates herself from others, lives the life of a celibate god, and dreams of a paradise of birds. A door shaped as a sesame seed will open unto such a world. Only in death could she experience true solitude, in which no gender, no sex will disturb the spiritual, the intellect, allowing full and thorough meditation and understanding of the self and the universe that surrounds. Sleep, to her, is as close as it gets. She is only nine but she feels that she has seen too much.

And he, one of the many that come into her life, leer salivating at her in a distance, stands in the doorway like a fool. Seven years younger and almost reaching his prime, he does not know her philosophy of life. He dwells rather simply between his leopard print, proud and a little reserved. He is never comfortable with how high-pitched his voice is when he doesn’t consciously lower the tone. He sees her, yet he does not see her fully. A part of what he sees is a mirror of himself.

He knows if he gets any closer, he will try to rape her again. But a part of him does not know yet, so he slouches his back, lowers his tail, crouches on his fore and back paws, spinning towards her light-headedly.

If he is too close, he will risk losing an eye, or a corner of his ear. Another grey, long-haired female who was much bigger than him and more experienced than his had taught him that last summer in a herb garden. Now, he still has not learned.

Driven by the same dreams: her whiskers, her strong tail that throws her scent of musk upon his wet nose, her gait ever so seductive even though she tries so deliberately hard to be as disinteresting and unattractive as possible, he still comes prowling in her siesta. She is targeted whenever her guards are down. But her guards are never down.

The sun that blinds him is a bonus to him. Fat pigeons cheer. He seizes her in dreams and gives her what he thinks is his love, while she plucks out something sticky— an eyeball of his.