Monday, 1 August 2016

Poetry 2016 / 076

Over Hers

My father's expression spoke volumes
when after going through school
with hair down to my waist
I shave it off, bar a strip in the middle
after Siouxsie Sioux
“What the bloody hell did you do that for?”

Dyed black
to match my eye shadow
black leather pelmet and tights;
Doc Marten's boots (fourteen hole)
“What the bloody hell do you look like?”

A dozen earrings
stretching my lobe wide enough for a bar, a grommet;
multiple piercings in my ears and face
“What the bloody hell are you supposed to be?”

A phone home from college
“Dad, I got a First.”
I hear him pull on his cigarette before speaking.
“Is that good?”

And the last conversation I ever had,
trying to convince him to go into respite care
to give my sister the break she needed.
“Over my dead body,” he says, “What the bloody hell would you know?”

“Not over your dead body,” I said,
“but over hers.”
A mug of tea going cold on the kitchen sink
while cigarette smoke swirled around a fluorescent light
and his blind-eye glare of determination.

My phone call the following week
to the hospital ward he was rushed to.
“What do you care?” asked the nurse, “he's dead.”

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