I forgive you because of that night
when you grabbed the grim old man on the blighted
corner after i’d rapped on his door, or
nearly did, but he opened it and pulled
me by the nose and yanked me all the way
down the pitch-dark alley to our back door,
threw me into the yard and tore
into me with his little cramped fists,
not getting mischief night, all nights mis-
chievous to him,till you stepped out
of the shadow and took him by the throat,
rasping, ‘He’s only a fuckin’ kid!’ You’re
my hero for that, Dad. I forgive you
all the rest, even dying. Quite right –
I’m only a fuckin’ kid,
even now.

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