After Dinner

We take up our positions
either side of the mantelpiece –

he’s in his rocking-chair
behind The Times,

mouth moving, no sound;
I’m counting stitches,

the pattern, the history;
outside, applause:

hailstones on flagstones,
then silence more intense.



Olive M. Ritch was born and raised in Orkney. She now lives and works in Aberdeen. She received the Next Chapter Award from the Scottish Book Trust in 2020 and was the recipient of the Calder Prize for Poetry from the University of Aberdeen in 2006. She is published in many literary magazines and anthologies. Her work has also been broadcast on Radio 4.