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.




I am a wood frog in a previous life.

You would probably think I was dead

if you saw where I was inside logs and burrows


heart stopped

ice crystals in my blood.

I defrost in the warmth of Spring.


Before that, I am a deer mouse

huddled together snuggling with the others

I don’t live for long.


In my time, I am a white-tailed prairie dog, a bat, hedgehog.

I am even a skunk

suspecting that’s where I began.


Last December

I all came together in this chilled life –

until my sun got warm again.