Monday, 10 March 2014

He Never Came Back

He never came
back to the small wooden house he'd built
that  yellow house with the white picket fence and it's broken gate
and the tiny vegetable garden out back

He never saw
the etchings that I'd carve
into the galvanised roof of the chicken coop
with that rusty nail that had landed on my feet
when the hinge of the gate finally gave

He never heard
the cry that would catch deep in my chest
when nightmares strangled my thoughts
even though the summer sun trickled ice cream down my chin

He never felt
my knees when they'd tremble under the weight
of holding back my pee
standing on line after church service
punishment for waiting

But I remember it all like it was yesterday
Me in my once yellow sundress
Bleached white from too many dryings under the weathering sun
Me, waving goodbye with one hand on the broken gate
Holding back my pee so I could watch his last shadow disappear
And with my big toe the one with the chipped pink polish
 Etching three intersecting hearts into the dusty soil
And the cry that caught deep in my chest
As I saw my mother swipe the back of her hand over her eyes
And beckon me inside
And only then I shouted, "Bye Daddy. Bye
When will you come home?"
"Oh by next week I reckon,"he'd said
And those childhood years went away
And like yesterdays
He never came back.

March 10, 2014 SArthur He Never Came Back