Poem – James Norcliffe

dog days

they would lie out of the sun, separately panting
pelts deep under cars or cloistered, if they dared,
under deserted verandahs or car-ports

their heads would swivel lazily
without focus or interest,

now at night they gather into a single dark pack
and sometimes they race about the house with
a wild staccato barking or I hear the scratch of
their nails on the stairs as they huff through
the rooms snuffling hungrily after my dreams

they bring wet sheets, night sweats, thunder,
the smell of fennel, of arm pits, damp trainers

time for them is a bitch on heat roped in a cage
and they swarm about the concrete yard below
just a humping sea of backs – waves of white brown
black and all the
spots and blotches in between
anonymous in their urgency crying with a clamour
that lifts windows opens doors but brings no relief


James Norcliffe

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