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.,