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A poem about my father and some favourite photographs taken in the USA and the UK

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

The day before
the day before
you died
I was the charismatic but ruthless leader
of a hundred thousand
mogul warriors
as they battled
a rag-tag mercenary army
of astronauts, medieval knights and GI's
for supremacy over our
settee and coffee table

You were not witness
to this senseless internecine carnage
because you were at the office
where
it latterly transpired
you lived

You were my almost father
and I was your nearly child
and
whilst you were forgetting how to smile
I was engaged in the business
of becoming dysfunctional

On the evening before
the day before you died
I returned home slightly late
because three
meticulously cruel
classmates
had kicked me to the ground
and pelted me
with snow and stones
in the playground until I was hypothermic.
Such random acts
of attempted murder
were considered
to be
character-building
in those days

You were home
when I arrived
and led me wordlessly to the bathroom
where you removed
my wretched, sodden clothes
wrapped me in a towel
and put your
arm around me
uncertainly
I was 11
and we had never had a single conversation

You had fled across Europe
for 5 years
with the Nazis at your heels
but your life
was never
not for one moment
more frightening
than in those few seconds
when you realised
you had been hiding
from the love

of your son

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Published
Publication date: August 2015
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