Living with Shadows
by Caroline Davies
You have forgotten how to eat.
The realisation comes to me suddenly
as I watch you push
your fish fingers around your plate,
cut your bread into ever smaller pieces.
I try to visit every day
on my way from work
before collecting my sons from nursery.
You don’t know you are their grandfather.
You tell me about your daughter
who works hard at school.
‘Always does her best.’
It makes me want to cry
because I never realised
how much you cared.
Spent my childhood afraid of your rages.
The anger’s all burnt out now.
You ask me again who I am
and ignore the answer because it doesn’t fit
your new world view.
There remains the problem of the fish fingers.
What to do?
I know I should take the fork
from your hand, spear the finger
and put it in your mouth.
In half an hour I’ll be doing tea
for my toddler and my older son.
I can’t bring myself to feed you too.
This delayed flowering of love comes too late,
©2007 Caroline Davies
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