Bitter Licorice

By Georgie Waters

Wind curls tightly around my throat when rain begins to fall.

That’s when a puppy emerges from behind the crumbling wall.

His stick-like legs tremble and his liquorice-coloured fur, so thin.

The weather worsens and I’m left with moral obligation to care for him.


At first, I’m just a little tired looking after this unexpected guest.

I suppose this is how anyone would feel, however infrequently expressed.

After some weeks, he struts around the house, causing little bouts of strife.

He can’t survive without me, and all this is far from an easy life.


I can’t manage daily tasks with this dog snapping at me so often.

I don’t want anyone else to know, so I navigate socials with precaution.

As he grows, his behaviour and scratches get harder to cover.

Some days, he sleeps so long, I’m paralysed, left with no time to recover.


Unwashed clothes carpet the floor, as plates are stacked high in the sink.

Days ooze into weeks, then the lightbulbs blow out, dousing me in murky ink.

I’m told to take things minute by minute, but his attacks often come unexpectedly.

I can’t do this alone anymore; this depression has increased tenfold in complexity.


So, although my family doesn’t understand the whole situation,

I begin training this dog consistently, albeit after hours of frustration.

I don’t always see him, but it’s obvious when something’s been chewed.

And when he does misbehave, snarling with glistening teeth, I’ll now know what to do.

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