Paterfamilias

I have a terror
Of turning into
My father.

A visceral, mortal
Lyingawakeatthreeinthemorning
Dread of plaid flannel shirts
Soft shoes, drawstring waistbands
Feeling the cold
Declaring they don’t
Write them or make them
Like that any more
Trying to hold conversations
In buttery fingers
Wondering where
All these cars came from
And why are they going so fast
Remembering when
It was all trees here
And staring at this screen
Helplessly demanding
What in God’s name
Does any of it mean.

But since I’ll never be
The one with the toolbox
And the strong, quick hands
The one with the shed
Full of jars of just what you’ve been looking for
The one who always has time
To be counsellor, confidant,
Co-conspirator, confessor
The one you have only to ask
And for whom nothing
Is too much trouble
The one who remains calm
And unfailingly finds the right words
When it’s all gone horribly wrong

I have nothing to fear
And everything.

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2 thoughts on “Paterfamilias

  1. Thank you as always, Charles. But you are a lot braver than I am – I hardly dare look in the mirror at all these days! Mostly because I risk being dazzled by the light bouncing off my increasingly smooth and shiny head… 🙂 N.

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