The Nature of Rescue by Hilary Watson
The Poetry Archive Now! WordView 2020 Entry Poet's Biography I am a poet and women's rights lobbyist and live in Cardiff. I have a BA and MA in Writing from the University of Warwick and was a Jerwood/Arvon Mentee in 2015. I'm writing my first collection. I live with my girlfriend and hope to adopt our first rescue dog soon. Poem Description / Inspiration When I lived closer to the local Dogs Home I used to regularly start my day walking the residents before work. I met all sorts of characters, some more anxious than others because of earlier experiences. I was thinking about anxiety in humans too when writing this poem and was editing it during lockdown. Since restrictions have lifted, I've been back to the Dogs Home. Some residents have been there the whole time that we've all been locked inside The Nature of Rescue I loop my hand through the leash handle, though she is a dog that nobody wanted, though she isn’t tugging to go forward. She sniffs at the door of the Dogs Home, sees I’m the one to take her – high viz, diverted gaze, not fussing her. And yes, she squirms together then apart, doesn’t watch or tug as I pick up the faeces hot from her, pauses as I drop it in the bin. I try to let her lead. She stops at forking paths, shows no preference. I speak to her often, tell her how sleek her coat is, how wonderful her ears, how she could let her tail loosen from between her legs, if she wants. When the path narrows beyond the boatyard she snorts at the edge of the grass, stops. Looks upriver. Won’t go further. Turns back, tugging towards her cage.