Frances McCue

The Other One Waits At Home


I’ve let the dog down.
Late with meals and walks,
I’m dog-deep in woeful starts
to make things better.
Not easy, this life–
the way it swings along:
Sore dog. Happy dog.
Folly of my needs.
“Love us,” we say.
“We command you.”
Her head nuzzles into
the corner of my arm.
She shivers along
shanks and withers
and sings far below
our frequency,
pinging along:
all muzzle and chop,
click click, chomp.

But please, Dog, sleep.
I’m tired too. Fetch
the dream life that tilts
any past askew.
Forgive me through
all these lacks and
I’ll forgive you
your drool and shits and
other indignities
of the expressionless.
Give me time to set it right.
I’ll roam the yards, flip
the cans, turn
through the bark-less,
hot twilight.
You rest.


Frances McCue is a writer and poet living in Seattle, where she is writer-in-residence at the University of Washington’s Undergraduate Honors Program. She was the founding director of Richard Hugo House from 1996 to 2006. McCue is the author of The Stenographer’s Breakfast, winner of the Barnard New Women Poets Prize, The Car That Brought You Here Still Runs:  Revisiting the Northwest Towns of Richard Hugo, with photographer Mary Randlett (University of Washington Press), and The Bled (Factory Hollow Press), winner of the 2011 Washington State Book Award and the2011 Grub Street Book Prize.

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