Why I watch my mouth when my wolf sister comes to stay
after Matthea Harvey
At first we are fierce with happiness; my wolf sister bounds through the door swinging her suitcase, god, let’s have a drink, she cries and I keep filling her glass and later when her clumsy paw knocks the red wine over the new bench , I don’t say anything, instead I grab the cloth real quick and wipe the wine off with a flourish as if to say, how easy is that, sis, how easy is it to clean up after yourself and in that way she won’t jump down my throat or slink off into the yard with the bottle, or hurl it at the neighbour’s dog who hasn’t stopped barking since she arrived and because I keep my mouth shut a terrible peace ensues and the day of reckoning is further down the track, though no one ever goes there and after a while there’s other things beside watching my mouth and not complaining about wine stains on new benches or bones strewn in the sink because that wolf sister is long gone and it was only ever a whistle stop tour and hallelujah, I sing, as I walk back in the rain to an empty house, hallelujah as I stumble through the door, drenched, my jaw shuddering with the cold.
Frankie McMillan is a poet and short fiction writer from Aotearoa New Zealand. Her book, The Father of Octopus Wrestling and other small fictions was listed in Spinoff as one of the ten best New Zealand fiction books of 2019. In the same year it was shortlisted for the NZSA Heritage award. Her latest book. The Wandering Nature of Us Girls ( Canterbury University Press) was published in 2022.