Scent and red pens. I mark essays as the cat marks his territory, scratching here and there in the margins. The weather hasn’t arrived yet, a victim of paperwork on the crumbling south coast, and we use these days of absence to catch up on lingering tasks and take stock of where we are. Paper and blankets. I wrap up today’s tasks as the cat wraps himself in an Instagrammable blue blanket, while an X marks a map on the scrolling screen. Some nights, there is more darkness inside than out and it’s hard to tell where animal lies. A prick of fur at a rap on the door, and a lying animal – all stink and red, with dead eyes winking – walks in without waiting to be asked. It says it owns the territory by right of birth and blood. Mark my words and take it as read: the cat is nowhere to be seen. I wrap sunflowers round my throat and pull them tight.





Oz Hardwick
Picture Nick Victor

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