by Rachel McGladdery

Rolling in one night on sea legs
made entirely from White Lightning,
He bowled up at mine and fell in through the door.

I helped him up and sat him down
and once propped upon a chair with a cup of tea he told me he had AIDS.
“Oh Dad,” I said and went to hug him.
He held his hand out like a nicotine stained starfish.

“You don’t have to bleach the cup.”

I held him sadly as he sobbed into my shoulder,

“Don’t treat me like a leopard.”

Rachel McGladdery lives in rural Lancashire with her partner, four children, two cats and a greenhouse.

  1. #1 by fiona campbell on August 7, 2009 - 11:36 am

    this hit home and brought tears to my eyes, so precisely written and with such feeling, excellent writing from the heart, the best sort I think.

  2. #2 by rachel on August 8, 2009 - 11:26 am

    Thanks Fiona. It means a huge amount to get feedback for my poetry, especially this one as it is true. Dad died 11 years ago (about 2 months after the events of this poem) and bizarrely the memory of him saying leopard by mistake is a lovely, funny and warm one I have of him.
    Rachel x

  3. #3 by Teresa Stenson on August 8, 2009 - 7:19 pm

    Excellent piece, Rachel.

    Really simple and compact, just the right length, full of punch. Great first 2 lines, love the last line.

    Thanks for sharing this.

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