An excerpt from

Table Manners
by Catriona Wright


The grapevine is strangling the basil. In the grill coals blink black
then pale grey, shedding the smell of lighter fluid.

All the mint from the balcony bathtub has been juleped.
It is unseasonably warm. We are sensibly drunk.

I am wearing a dress I bought yesterday from my neighbour.
A polyester cosmos of flying saucers and tulips.

We fight over the relative merits of day jobs, if they suffocate
or inspire. Dodging our voices, Frank Zappa cackles about rutabagas.

The catfish grows oily and succulent in its foil shroud,
cayenne-dusted whiskers igniting the air.