365 Poems/81 Go Outdoors Sales Assistant Leaves Early (Rough First Draft)

Go Outdoors Sales Assistant Leaves Early

It’s nearly four, and I’m due my lunch

in a few minutes. The radio is heavy at my hip,

banging and bruising the bone.


Mum’s face is red. I can tell it was wet

until a few seconds ago. She’s with

another member of staff, and my blood drains,

like it’s been planning a method

of escape for days.


Mum explains it’s you, Granddad.

That you’ve been taken into hospital.


Around me are all these methods

of assisting escape into the outdoors.

I want to know if any of them

will make you better. A heap of protein bars

maybe, or an insulated sleeping bag,

or a fleece with lots of complicated layers.


In the car, I eat but don’t taste.

I don’t think to save anything.


The hospital walls are thin. I doubt

they would have many rings

if we sliced them open.


Everyone in the room has fragile edges.

We are deep inside this experience now,

and terror is shooting closer.


The great dark is coming, and you

are starting to look older than the sea.

But I keep wishing you’ll wake up

to see the moon again, feel rain fall

on the backs of your hands.


I will have a mug of tea

with two sweeteners ready,

and we, your children and grandchildren

will take you home to your castle,

where everything important has happened.

Where you picked tomatoes from the garden

and put them on the window sill in the kitchen

to sit in the sun and ripen