Gibraltar Chronicle Logo

Adults Runner-Up Conversations without my father By James McNally

My father was a subtle man -
we'd never known until he left
the multitude we were now bereft
from things reserved for 'next of kin'.

My father was a playful man -
lining up toy soldiers on the mantelpiece
for imaginary skirmishes over the fireplace
and he would always let me win.

My father was a musical man -
a guitar in his lap or tickling the ivories
while I held tight to a microphone,
and, together, we made such a beautiful din.

My father was a learned man -
a psychologist, he'd teach me signs
for 'hello', and 'thank you', the ways he spoke
to deaf and nonverbal children.

My father was a tired man -
driving to and from engagements,
new challenges, schools and parents
who might have seen his help as giving in.

My father was an ailing man -
the first time I saw an ambulance
sirens blaring, pulling into the driveway
I was just a boy of ten.

My father was an ornery man -
at least from my juvenile perspective -
we quarrelled fiercely, and I regret
a lot of what, in haste, was spoken.

My father was a distant man
and I'd soon move on to a distant land -
still, the occasional basic greetings
the affordance of the telephone.

My father was a young man,
relatively speaking -
sixty-six, to be precise -
and left not long after his work was done.

My father was a quiet man -
so many things I wish I'd said, instead
left to reconcile with his belongings
read his papers, speak with his writing hand.

Most Read

Local News

New addition to the firearms team

Download The App On The iOS Store