Its spine broken and torn
Leaves left devoured by silverfish,
Corners crumbling with age -
My hands tremble as I open the book.
Carefully, tenderly, I turn the frontispiece -
Shabby, tattered yet holding up together
With a dignity that only books can have -
I shake out the dust and faecal matter.
The book is still silent, slightly embarrassed
But not showing any -
Like my mother, paralysed
As I clean her with wet cotton blobs.
In the left corner of the first page
The book said -
‘With all good wishes to my son’
Signed, my father, forty years ago.
I run my fingers over the lines
Lift up the book to smell it deep
Rest my palm where he would have -
I am in touch with my father.
For my child, what do I leave
Would he care
Would he gratify me -
Standing alone in the mountains high
When snowflakes fall, kissing his face?
When winds roar past his face
When the hills fall silent?