“Parched” by Patricia McCaw

The new dog wedges a bolster between us,
all hair, sharp teeth and searching tongue,
her breath young without toothpaste.

Our hands slide, slip, over and under until
she’s off, all stroking, tickling done.
Fingers lie, suddenly redundant, marking time.

The brain’s slow to snap connections,
impulses slumber past nerves and hands,
your hand

which is already
moving, clearing out,
leaving the party early.

Dying, you say, for a cup of tea.

Patricia McCaw lives in Edinburgh and comes from Northern Ireland. After a career in social work in both countries, she completed a Masters in Creative Writing at Edinburgh University. She won the inter-university formal poem prize when she was there, and since then has been published in various journals including Etchings, Gutter, Northwards Now, South, Irish Literary Review, New Writing Scotland and others. She lives with her wife, though they never use the word and haven’t found a satisfactory substitute. Together, they reared a son who is now married also. Little by little, her poetry is reflecting some of this.