In all the wrong places

by Beth McDonough

Afraid, I anticipated him – reckoned
killer boxes in the owner’s shed. I sensed
that macchja dense with his lives, head-rattled all

those words he’d claimed – scratch
scuttle, rustle, scurry, gnaw.
He glutted
my dark. Nightly, I fretted him, sifted

seeds for scat. On the lane’s camber I
tensed, stared riddles in stink-wide
bins for humped moves. No shadow shot

from flag leaf drains. I detected no presence
in dykes. No quick through briar thicks. None. I
opened myself to planets and stars. There

Rat, sleek along telegraph wires,
cork oak to cork oak, smooth
on summer low cables. My linear acrobat.

Beth McDonough trained in silversmithing at GSA, completing her M.Litt at Dundee University. Writer-in-residence at DCA 2014-16, her poetry appears in Agenda, Causeway, The Scores and elsewhere. She reviews in DURA. Handfast, with Ruth Aylett (Mother’s Milk, May 2016) charts family experiences – Aylett’s of dementia and McDonough’s of autism.