Is there a parallel universe
in which my father strolls?
Off a double-decker London bus
he steps, in a dapper grey suit,
walking stick in hand,
red silk handkerchief in his top pocket,
priestly dog collar intact.
I see there is a nun on the other side of you.
My heart lunges
and my dry mouth opens to call your name after twenty years unspoken.
But no sound comes.
On the pavement I stand spellbound until I hear myself call out your name
at last, in disbelief.
And as I take a step closer, just to check
that I’m not dreaming,
you turn toward me
with such a look of love
I reach out to touch your face
and you keep me held, caught in your waxy blue-eyed gaze,
which tells me you cannot linger.
There is another call
upon which you must now attend.
A call far greater than the love for – or from – a daughter.
A call from generation to generation, which remains
whilst you walk on
and away from me with your quiet intent.