Turning off the TV
I join the cat by the fire
To watch the last log burn to an ember.
Our cat is benign,
His eyes are closed,
His paws are crossed,
He bathes in the heat.
But I am drawn to the irregular flapping of the flames
As images emerge:
A bony wizened finger
The end of which glows like a red hot poker.
The face of a grimacing macaque monkey
With black hollow eyes set deep in its skull.
A white, miniature, fossilised ribcage.
Did our ancestors see such visions as well
To inspire what they saw as Hell?
As their children lay safe in their beds
Is this what they watched post-watershed?
Illustration Nick Victor