Sunday, January 29, 2017
Rachael Mead #4
I remember my cream polo-neck was itchy as hell
and wishing for a groovy velour one just like yours.
But in the end, it was fitting. Nothing about that day
was what I wanted. When the social worker asked me
we were all in the lounge, Mum perched on the edge
of the couch but I didn’t need to see her face
to know what I was meant to say. Dad, you didn’t
say much. Start as you mean to continue, I guess.
Your parenting was defined by what you didn’t do.
No praise. No affection. No Speech Nights or Sports Days.
Sometimes music lies in the space between the notes,
but even so, all my childhood triumphs seem like
wild dancing for rain that would never fall. Now,
here you are in ICU, hooked up to a nest of tubes
feeding you blood, oxygen, everything you need except
nicotine and alcohol. And still, all I can hear is you
talking over Mum out of deafness or disrespect. Or both.
I’m almost snapping my Sudoku pencil with one hand.
It’s the same one I used while you were in surgery,
all the numbers blurring as I remembered that day,
all those years ago, when you heard Mum ask
for a father for her child. When you answered.