by Raymond Antrobus
My mother says my father had a heartless sense of humour.
That winter she fell, ice on the road—
She can't forget her bruise, his laughter.
Not even his shadow helped her up or soothed her.
He watched from the kerb—boozy red-eyed Dad—
laughed when she said he had a heartless sense of humour.
I think that's how he handled pain, drink his only tutor.
Maybe laughter was the only thing he had?
No, my mother says, he had a heartless sense of humour.
In Hackney Downs, his past became my future,
walking drunk by filter beds, noticing how grass sags,
laughing at myself with my heartless sense of humour.
He'd tell some tragic story, then laugh, his jaw looser,
and if laughter won a round of drinks, be glad
of what can be bought with that heartless sense of humour
My mother tried again and the next man abused her—
another man with a drink and cigarettes to drag,
laughed with my father's heartless sense of humour.
When Tabitha said out cousin stabbed his father
I laughed, and she closed up, turned away, sour.
Ray, where did you get tht heartless sense of humour?
Last updated December 07, 2022