The gravedigger’s son

The shovel and spade, nick

-snick-flick, the earth like rotting flesh,

and movements and sequences, nick-

snick-flick, instinct, impulse, reason,

combining with each nick-

snick-flick, making my father weary,

and the eulogies for sons lost in

accidents, daughters dying of cancer,

got to him, and the fire and brimstone

spewed, unnerved him, and

so, he drank and came home,

never abusive, but neglecting everything

and everyone, his surroundings a chorus

of the dullest beige, his song softer than

the mildest blue, his eyes red, his cheeks

crimson, and when he died, I took the spade

and shovel, not out of want but need, nick-

snick-flick, a slow cadence settling in,

standing in a corner, averting my eyes,

the buzz and flow

of traffic, the cacophony of horns

making no difference, nick-

snick-flick, coming home

to an ageing mother and a wife without

the alcohol and yet falling short, nick-

snick-flick, each picture slowly turning

sepia and then a blurred black and white

because everyone I knew or cared about,

or loved still breathes,

but is sadly dead to me.

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