Friday Poem


Christmas night. The three of us,
Eating steak and salad without
A relative between us, beside us,
Or even at the end of a table
That would sit twelve, if we had chairs.

He appeared at the floor-deep window,
A sudden little red thought. Lost,
When we looked, like a name on a tongue-end,
Never certain. Ear tips like a claw hammer,
Face like a chisel, then gone.

He was back, two bits later, whippet body
Wanting steak fat. Half grown,
His small feet black as match head,
His nose not able to let
The smell of meat alone.

His very presence begged us for a bit,
Hungry in the houselight. And there she was,
Just as motherless. His sister,
Coming for dinner,
Threading the field like a long needle.

by Frieda Hughes
from Wooroloo
HarperCollins, 1998