“Who’s out of bed? I fucking warned you.”
Dad’s voice crescendoed from the hallway as we sprung out of view on the landing, quick as adrenaline. The bedroom door swinging behind us, I shinned up the ladder to the top bunk while Jay dived under covers on the bottom. Dad took the stairs two at a time.
“Will you say it was you, Jay?” I pleaded. “He’ll kill me.” Continue reading “Brothers”
“You’re sick in the head,” Dad snarls.
“I probably am, living with you.”
I punch myself in the head again. It hurts more this time, but I try not to show it. Continue reading “Paulie, Stop”
There in the kitchen, my father,
His mouth overfilling with pills,
Says to me “Paulie, I’m sorry.
I’m sorry, I know what I’ve done.”
And I say “Now you’ve ruined Christmas”
And turn from the shame of his tears. Continue reading “Sestina”
“Say that again.”
My eyes held his, heart pounding, deathly calm.
“If Jamie was alive, he’d beat the shit out of you, and love it, too,” he snarled.
I felt each word land and let the volcano erupt inside of me, pounding Dad, right and left, again and again across the face.
Continue reading “Say that Again”
His ghost stole in like the grey fingers of dawn.
His back wheel spinning, glimpsed from inside the grocer’s, while I queued for a Cadbury’s Applause. The bike on its side, handlebars on pavement.
Then he was beside me. Emotions kaleidoscoped. Continue reading “Dawning on Me”
At last Dad came home, while we were in school, and that evening we were each allowed a few minutes in his room.
A face turned purple.
Mottled and bubbled and lumpen, one eye closed like a boxer’s.
An ogre, a brute, a fairytale monster.
Underneath was my Dad.
Still strong, with hard hands, and black, wavy hair. Continue reading “Old Spice and Cigarette Scented”
One day I was eight and Dad didn’t come home.
Mum told us he was working late, but his bed wasn’t slept in. They had separate beds by that time, Mum and Dad.
Walking home from school that next day, Mum told us Dad had been beaten up. He hadn’t come home because he was in hospital. Continue reading “Hammers, Hard Hands and Black Wavy Hair”