Later I remember you



I wrote a trilogy of poems about my dad after he died, aged 60.  Here is one of them.


Later I remember you


Later, I remember you


in the late September sun.

The wind already chill on your dressing gown.

Nervous, like a dying bird,

sensing cats,

you looked around

already all not there.

The breeze lifted the silver hair

above the nape

of your sallow shrunken neck,

your skull too large,

too heavy

on your half eaten sinking ship.

The wheel chair

doing the bleak hospital grounds clumsy in my grip.

Your feet tucked in strange

hose socks,

water clutched in your trembling hand,

tight and scared

as if someone might snatch

that little last comfort from you.


I remember a photograph

taken when I was two.

You hold me on your lap,

the sun pulsing through Venetian blinds

on the terrace of

the Prima Cappella house.

You look into the camera

as if by sheer angry will

you’d etch yourself upon the film.

Your father beside us,

patient or pissed,

suffused with a gentle smile,

his watery eyes


You hug me tight,

your big fingers digging into my small chest.


The nurse gave me tea

and then left me with you.

You were propped like a sack of potatoes,

Your ramrod, 'no slouching' back

that became your cross to bear,

piled against the cushions.

I said, ‘I’m so sorry,’

before bursting into tears,

alone in that last strange room

with you.

I kissed your cold forehead,

your angry fire

now without heat,

your fingers, open, dead,

upon the sheet.