For my father
Early this silver morning, birds
Practiced their scales, songs without words.
The four year old got out of bed
padded to our room, and said
'I sleep with you?' Patted my breast,
tried to settle but could not rest.
'Mum?' he whispered, 'why are they for?'
'Hush. Milk for babies, but there's no more.'
He turned his back. He tried his best. He could not sleep.
Same dawn: the nurse pads up the hall
looks up the number, makes the call.
News travels, mother to daughter
drawing me cross land and water
on a silver thread. And now it's night.
By my father's bed there was a light:
a few weeks ago it failed him
he thought his God had come for him.
Now it is done, and someone's come. My father's gone.