He’s faded through the hullabaloo,
mutters more beer, more fun – his epitaph.
The tattooed knuckles no longer fist
a threat. My father’s head resting on
the table, mouthing a Johnny Cash song
that mists his glass, but empties mine.
The ceiling’s low, he either stoops or cracks
his head. It moulds a humbleness of stature.
He pens the script by habit in black ink,
the magic of writing will clot his doubt.
He counts the letters, and utters every word.
A pause before the nests in dusty corners
shall hatch, pupate, shiver to guilt again.
Insomnia is a fist of fluttering moths.
Above the promise of this farm
the gods clench fists, pummel clouds
until crops are knuckled by rain;
there’s thunder and lightning,
– gods thrive on melodrama.
After the gun smoke sky
a flash of magpie in flight over
the hurrying sorrow of debt.
Not for me, granddad whispers,
the room rutted with hope.
Phil Wood works in a statistics office. He enjoys working with numbers and words. His writing can be found in various publications, most recently in: Sein und Werden, Ink Sweat and Tears, Autumn Sky Poetry, London Grip and The Centrifugal Eye.