Towards the End of the Feast

The best way to bear
that flaming pud
signalling the latter stages of our feast

is not Kenneth McKellar’s rictus grin
nor the fugitive grimace
that passes for a smile among men.

The best way to carry
between steamer and table
the dark fruit of our last course:

let slip the clay-white platter
and in the moment before
the mess on the floor,

the crash, the stricken faces,
know to your fingertips
the joy of letting go,

lightness rushing up
to greet you like an old pal.
Thus did my father on his last Christmas,

from hands that once had eased
many a bairn into the world,
look up at us, with the smile of a child.

Last updated March 28, 2023