Your house smelt of beer and bubbles,
A lingering just-vaccumed scent layered over nicotine that never left…
I guess you found them again.
Us kids, altruistic but ultimately, obvious.
And we thought that just meant you’d need time,
Not that time was up.
‘just fishing’ – the sign over the door
Had always seemed cheeky and true but
Death changed that into something menacing
You did not go fishing again.
You used to light a spotlight over the river
So we could watch the fish swim by.
You knew all the breeds and varieties but
Mostly were too drunk to tell us
It was your birthday, but
What do you buy a man who is
The collection of cheerily wrapped rum and cigarettes seemed mocking.
You had no answers left, and if you did, no breath to speak them
Reduced to stretched yellow skin beneath
Striped pajamas too big for your bones
Tubes that creaked and a machine that wheezed as you wheezed
A priest came to your bedside
Dying at home was supposed to bring you peace but
This was no longer a home just
A meeting room to plan a life without you.
The last time I saw you
Holy water flew and
Your wife crouched beside you
And you turned your back
To look out the window