Rough and Tumble
You were bald, as long as I knew you,
even in the military photographs of Lagos. Thick rimmed glasses and stay-press trousers.
Tobacco stained finger tips dealing out cards with a flash and a grin; Bilco. Your hand always the strongest;
and when Tom climbed the apple tree...I cried when you beat him
even though he was laughing in defeat.
That halflight seems like
we're still caught in it somehow,though your shadow is long gone
"Rough and Tumble": You got me to pick
it from the paper. I still remember
the thrill sat on your knee, listening to you listing names and the odds
and the biro that circled it at my
I now wonder if it ever came in...
The truth of your story began to unfold slowly, like Tom's illness, edging along, growing unseen in
Stories were whispered bit by bit, in hallways of Christmases after your passing. Grandma finally uttering clues:
"He said to me, 'Madeline, I've wasted my life'. It was like a disease. Sometimes, I'd go down to the Post Office and, there was nothing left."
The feeling of dread at finding the door locked.
Uncle Mike's car, incongruous outside school.
Knowing his words now, before they have bolted.