Mine was a tattered picture from a photo booth

That my mum had stolen so that I might have some idea.

He looked defiant, eyes hard, glinting with a vulnerability

That I might have imagined.


His hair was rough, tuffs of black wiry curls

Grew upright, a natural quiff that made him look

Like a young John Lennon.


I idolised him like thousands cried for Lennon.

Fantasised about his rock n’ roll life that

Excused him from my life.

Marked the apologies in plain sight.


That photograph sits on the top shelf of my wardrobe

Hidden in a box between postcards and old diaries.

When the jigsaw was complete, my father was

Shrunken and sallow looking, nothing like John.


The pieces were visibly cracked, clumped

Together like a self made game, played

Once on a gloomy day.

He was reserved, with sons at home to nurture.


There was not time for me, left like Julian

To tend to my own pain. But I am not bitter

So that photograph hides in place of his shame

Away in a box, like a lost piece to another game.,




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