Barbara Egel

Lilly Britten

A silly city kitten lingered, sitting on a sill
while behind her, Lilly Britten knitted mittens.
Lil insists on rigid living: she’s a prim and bitter pill,
and she’s weary of the wool and bitchy kitten.

Lilly Britten once was smitten with a girl of iron will
whose attention merits mention, being wholly Lil’s invention.
Lilly built a sylvan hilltop for the surly girl and her,
a dwelling she defended against any—mostly men.
But that tender den of heaven dwelt, bereft, inside her head.
Lilly tended to her passion in her rash imagination—
giant slabs of fabrication that would someday have to crash in.
Of course, inside her daydream, Lil was Lancelot in bed—
a juicy, cool seducer who could loosen, lick, and bruise her,
taxing synapses’ endurance, turning neurons into fizz.
This tortured, torrid courtship born of horniness and boredom
tore through all of her decorum until—forced into confession—
Lil at last declared her passion.
The surly girl, thus burdened, turned upon our hurting virgin,
“I am dirty with your words and with your irksome, nervous flirting
and am certain to prefer that you should surely go away.”

Years later, still not mated, Lil is chilly and deflated
by the state that she created and the surly girl, now hated.
On the sill the kitten lingers as the wool winds round Lil’s fingers.
In a city rich with sinners, Lil’s is such a mingy sin:
The humiliated spinster who takes bitchy kittens in.

Barbara Egel lives in Chicago where she works as a consumer research consultant. She is the author of several licensed children’s books in both prose and verse. Her poems have appeared in Northeast Corridor and the anthology Between the Leaves.