My dad’s the queerest fish

He comes downstairs at the last minute,
unshaven. You can tell he hasn’t showered.
One sock black, the other blue.
He doesn’t even grunt.

Heads for bog-standard tea,
flicks on the kettle switch
squeezes the last drop from a tea bag,
drops milk into a half-full mug.

“I’ll see you in the car, come on Louis”
My Dad takes dog to everywhere
– to school – to park – to Toastmasters.
That setter’s sat at a thousand meetings.

My Dad’s weird, drives without opening his mouth.
I’m sure his ears are half-awake.
He wears one hearing aid, lost the other.
and doesn’t even care.

My father doesn’t curse,
he doesn’t even burp.
He holds it all inside.

He loves the dog and cat,
forgives them all the time,
while they drive me insane.

A man whose memory’s shot
insists on time to write
and listens with a sieve.

He loves my school results,
no matter how well I do,
swears you can’t change the past.

Whenever I’m compliant
he sure looks disappointed,
until my will’s my own.

His singing voice is foul,
flat as a flat fog-horn.
My protests spare me pain.

I wish he’d close his mouth
not interrupt my sleepy mind,
until I’m gone to school.

Eulogy for our mum

Our mother doesn’t believe in death
Our grandma doesn’t believe in death
Our great grandmother doesn’t believe in death.
Even after everyone knows she’s passed away
she doesn’t believe in death.

She believes in sign-posts
and the sort of markers that say
you’ve entered a new townland.

Our mum believes in evolution and re-cycling
and believes she’s back with the love of her life
the man she married for thirty years
her husband forever.

Our mum believes in the journey
The journey with people, the journey for people,
the good life.

Our mum is …
Our mum was ready.
Oh, she told her family a long time ago
that she was ready.

She lived her day-to-day with love
as generously as any creature.
She reached out to the widest family of humanity
and she believes that’s the only way to live up,
to live the good life.

Our mum doesn’t believe in death
she believes in Resurrection,

She believes she’s moved on
her work on Earth is done
her work among us is the best she could do.

Our mum believes she’s no saint
she has sinned
she’s made her peace
she is forgiven.

Our mum is in love
a love deeper that the lover who feels
they’ve found the one they were meant to find.

Our mum doesn’t only believe in God
our mum knows her God is love
and love endures for ever.