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