A simple poem that came to me in the middle of the night. No great craft, just a sad story.
I know you always loved our story time,
But I don’t even know where to start with this one.
Once upon a time?
Not convinced this is that right genre for that.
One day me and you were at the park,
(Does anyone really care what the weather was like?)
You were at the top of the slide,
I was at the fence at the edge of the playground;
I was looking in another direction, I cannot remember at what.
Every time I recall this story it’s like I’m in a mime act-
A mime artist on the outside of his glass box, my glass house.
Like the rom-com hero screaming at the heroine,
From outside the party he’s not been invited to.
Like a voiceless wolf howling hopelessly at the wind.
Like kindling’s doomed grown against the fire.
Like this Father, crying at his memories.
I wish I could tell you what I was thinking about,
What deep thought was going through my mind,
When it happened.
But no, my mind is blank and guilty.
Was it about the meaning of life?
The serenity of family?
My happiness as a Father?
Or was it just about my boredom, my desire to go home?
Or maybe just about the pretty girls across the park?
Or what time I was going to make it to the pub?
Yes, I bet those birds do feel free.
Yes, I bet it would be great to be flying up with them in the clouds.
Yes, I swear I’m watching you.”
My God I will never get that sound out of my head.
Not the sound of your bones shattering;
Not the sound of the playground’s other shrieking children;
Not the sound of the ambulance or the paramedics;
Not the sound of your Mother blubbing and shouting;
Not the sound of the sermon, or funeral service
Nor the sound of your scream, as you jumped off the slide.
But the sound of sudden realisation in my glass house mind,
Of terror and of loss, as my happiness was ripped from my heart.
I’ve commenced the standard wishing to the genie of soliloquies.
Yet I do not wish simply to go back and change that moment:
He will not grant such opaque obviousness.
I wish I could remember how it felt to hold your hand,
To grasp your phantom hand as you cross a road.
I wish I could remember the happiness of your existence,
Not just a void, chalk outline of your life.
I wish my mind could see a smile writ across your face,
Not just your Tears in Heaven expression of scorn.
Yet I suppose my greatest wish is the Occam’s razor of grief:
I wish I was telling you this story at bed time,
Not stood talking,
In true pathetic fallacy rain,
To your gravestone.
Hey kid wake up!”