New Voices: April | Richard O’Brien
The country where my father killed a man,
A man comes to your house with a syringe
or many men — he didn’t stick around
around 2pm. You offer him tea, biscuits.
to find out, as he once explained — is somewhere
‘Is there somewhere peaceful?’ You say ‘Here’s fine.’
I could barely find on a map, and when
And then he kneels down, syringe in hand
or why it happened I can’t even tell you:
tells you it’s for the best, and when he rises
what side we backed, or what weapons he used.
you used to have two dogs, and now you don’t.
The plain facts are so far from right or wrong
All wrong: the other in the next room whining,
it seems to mean as much as public spitting:
spitting his dog treat out onto the floor.
you’ve done it, but, you know, not all the time.
A time has passed. A new urn in the dog room:
He can’t have been as much as twenty-five,
I’m twenty-five. I met him as a puppy,
a baby on the way. Was there a rescue,
a rescue who we gave a different name:
something worth saving, or a coup to rumble?
Grumble before: too fast, too boisterous.
A daring mission? A flat-out assault?
His salt-and-pepper jaw. Tumours on his chin.
Somebody neither of us knew is dead.
Dead-lift. Two carry him to the open boot.
A dog tag round an urn. A tired arm-chair.
Hair on the seats. Poor Captain, coughing blood.
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