seed potatoes

Dad came to me again last night
drifting through the door
without touching the floor
to hover at the foot of the bed
‘Alright, Jimmy boy?’ he said
I said ‘Yeah, Dad. Yeah. Alright?’

I sat up and rubbed my eyes
he was hovering there in his old string vest
and his big baggy trousers were a big muddy mess
like he’d just come in from hoeing the rows
to lay in trays of seed potatoes
his yearly gardening exercise

he rootled in his pockets
fetched out a tube of wine gums
asked me if I wanted one
tossed me a couple but soon discovered
they vanished when they were halfway over
– his wormy eyes rolled in their sockets

HE could chew, though
which he did, noiselessly
‘So…. got any questions for me?’
he said, sighing, looking round the room
‘Only be quick, ‘cos the cock crows soon
and that’s my signal I really gotta go’

the odd thing is I’d been thinking about that
how if my Dad was still alive
would I really be brave
and ask him about when he was a kid
the kinds of things he and HIS dad did
or how it all started in the Pimlico flat

or why they had such an enormous family
when they were essentially broke
whether he was a faithful bloke
or whether he really did have a fling
with that woman from work, and that kinda thing
but I just kept quiet, unfortunately

I wanted to ask what happened to him
why he got so stuck, why things went bad
considering the breaks he’d had
why in the end he couldn’t be free
and carried on living so painfully
having more kids, calling them Jim

but I couldn’t; this wasn’t the time
ghost or otherwise it was none of my business
other than to bear some kinda witness
to a careworn father who inspired his son
to lay down yet another ghostly poem
words like potatoes, sprouting in a line

2 thoughts on “seed potatoes

  1. I really like this. It seems to be one of your more personal ones which always come from a much deeper place. It immediately made me think of my own Dad. Thanks for the memories today ❤️👍

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    1. Thanks Patti. Yeah – it is more personal! And I do think it gives them a bit more of a kick. Dad kept a pretty nice garden, a lot of it given over to vegetables. I can smell the trays of seed potatoes putting out their sprouty white shoots even now.. !
      I often think if he was alive still would I ask him those personal questions. Not sure I’d be brave enough! Maybe these things you just have to put down to the mistakes we inevitably make being alive & human. I’ve certainly made plenty! 🙂 x

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