My Father Wore Eternal Clothes – Kate Rhodes

The George Crabbe Memorial Poetry Competition
2002 Crabbe Memorial Competition – Second Prize
Adjudicator: Rodney Pybus

Opposite me on the tube
my father’s ghost looked tired.
He’s been shopping, posthumously
the bags at his feet not quite real.

He’s hard to see, but I can tell
his soul’s wrapped still
in the worsted coat
he said would last forever.

He seems relieved,
freed at last from the urn
my mother dusts every day.
On the brass plaque

she’s had him named and dated,
catalogued – as if she knows
she might forget.
He’s determined not to see me.

Nothing I have on will last,
cheap boots, a worn out scarf.
He gets off before the next stop.
He’s left his clothes behind

corduroys in plush furrows.
Pink shirt hard with starch,
and on my lap, newly soled
his resurrected brogues.

Copyright © Kate Rhodes 2002

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