My father lays sleeping on the couch,
No sound is audible, his face a pall of white,
The crinkled jaw my youth hardly saw, unhinged and opened wide
As if waiting for the words to say.
As I watch I notice
The fine rivers his skin holds, time has ravaged him delicately
And yet; is the brow not creased? Savagely
I laugh, quick my hands stifle me.
The eyelids flicker as if the smooth wick
Has not been put out, heart racing
I check the smoke, it still rises. Burnt;
Sting, what might those subtle eyes see?
For he is no canvas,
Slack jawed and sprawling,
No mighty king here, the drool that hangs from his lips no jewel,
Youth conquered by battling age:
A smile cracks my lips, smoking
I put the barrel down; lay it upon the coffee stained wood,
One final glance behind,
My father, his flame is gone.
Copyright © Bethany Chipperfield