My father

My father had six fingers, a hooked nose and one eye. My father had a hinged jaw and no teeth, a dewdrop and a pack of Woodbines. My father had a gold signet ring, swollen knuckles and his hands were claws. My father wore braces and shat in a bucket under the stairs. My father sat on a low stool lighting the boiler for hours. He sat on a high stool eating bananas and bread. My father had a mother but I did not know her. My father had a father but I did not know him. My father had a grey paisley scarf. My father made tea for my mother. But I did not know her. My father took me to the playground in Potternewton Park. This was before he had an iron leg. I spun round and round. My mother milked my father. My father opened the door to ‘uncle’ Charlie. My father nodded and shuffled. My mother’s stepmother liked my father. She told me this in a car outside Chislehurst caves. She said it was a bad match. My mother told me ‘I want never gets’. If he were here I think he would be standing, staring at nothing. I think he would be leaning backwards. I think he would look like he might fall over. My father had hollow legs.

from Inventory (Shearsman Books 2008)