I always kept that painting of a little boat
The one you gave me
But each time I looked at it
The boat seemed to be moving further away,
Until I feared one day it would be out of the picture.
Why did I choose to photograph those two empty deckchairs by the ocean?
Sensing a separation, sensing something.
I remember that remarkable day,
It was so frighteningly hot
And you were talking about the journey home
Before we had even arrived.
With hands full of drinks and snacks we found two seats.
The sun was merciless
The ocean piercing blue that day.
We talked of tomorrow with words of yesterday.
You were always so hard, uncompromising.
A grip upon this life that I had never tasted,
A sure-footedness that I had not discovered.
Watching you sitting back against an unyielding environment,
Rooted in the earth
While others hover around just like a guest here,
Flirting around existance
And flittering around you and your invincibility.
A strengh derived from actions, achievements, success.
Then the two seagulls flew close, too close.
Their squalid mess missed me
But splattered down the front of your shirt,
Your beautiful, immaculate, clean shirt.
Ironed to perfection by your new lady,
In the way my mother could never iron,
Could never get it right for you.
You jumped up devastated and then I saw it,
Your true misery,
Your tenuous, fragile grip on this life after all.
The gulls had messed on you, only you,
Singling you out.
It was a tragedy.
And I saw your struggle, your humanity.
It still moves me deeply today,
Makes me love you even more.
For my father.