Dad did his job
working as a clippie on the buses in the war,
playing ‘my old man said follow the band’ on the joanna,
shouting down the scarecrow who had me by the neck,
and drinking himself to death before I could tell him anything
about myself except how terrified I was of him, especially
after the funeral when he peeled out of the chimney
into the grate and tore my throat out;
at midnight,


The removal of the father,
any father,
has its downsides.

For example, I can’t stop thinking
that if he was here right now, I’d say
that he could understand,
as if I was Chinese, or martian.

The others knew him, or a version
of him. They don’t need to
make up stories.

So that’s what I do.