Father

 

Did we collect chestnuts together?
Why am I even imagining we might have?
The image grows –
Tying them with string through holes pierced
Into hard skin to white flesh and out again.

No, we didn’t and never ever would have.

He was a tree I wanted so much to climb –
Not a chestnut or oak – more likely a conifer,
one with branches close to the trunk, Juniper or Cyprus.
Reaching tall, spreading narrowly.

I shrink inside to think of us playing that game.
Face to face, conkers dangling.
What if I had broken his?
I have no idea.
So little do I know, who he was – Daddy.

We skirted about one another, he and I –
And when we met – eye to eye,
Recognising noses and shaggy brows –
And maybe, a look deep in our eyes,
Of sadness and of bewilderment.

I wish we had found some game to play,
Not chess, nor tennis or golf or scrabble –
one with dice and all the chance
that fate plays –
That might have teased
father and son.
.

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