He's like that sad town you took us to
when you found your blood family.
A place of abandoned colliery terraces,
their roofs slowly caving in to beams
holding dirty huddling pigeons,
their petrol-slick plumage
mimicking the shades of lost slates.
He's like those pigeons on the roof,
similar in certain lights, but different.
His face as pink as our father's was,
every bit the man he was, so you say.
But for every parallel you pin on him
I see pigeons for slates and rain coming.
mother won't believe me
when I say a woman
built the white lighthouse.
Surely a fisherman's wife
lent her name and fierce stare
to make the beacon lucky?
We still inhabit our heads
like houses where the darkness
keeps being switched on.
I read in a copy of The Leeds Mercury
1797, that missing men
were known as ‘runaway husbands'
as if the only reason to disappear
was to pick open the wedlock.
I am two centuries too late to join
the hunt for these fugitive grooms,
having kept my eye on my father,
decades hanging on the garden gate,
and my mother happy to run off too.
into our front wall
like a big feng shui coin
an antique whetstone.
The old knives and axes
felled woods and herds,
to blunt and rust away.
All that's left is noon sun
slowly dragging its blade
flat over the stone.
© Hazel Corrigan 2013