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Packed Lunch

for my father

Still I remember the care he took each morning: rising early, like steam from the green at the bottom of our street, not with the breaking of light or out of any need, but with his sleep cut short by the alarm. In his pyjamas he’d walk, slowly, blinking his eyes into waking. And I – can you believe it – would be angry, as only a well-loved child can be, even to hear his alarm, for it disturbed me. I slept well and longer, woke up, panicked, gunned down the stairs to find him there, in the kitchen, walled in by stacks of Hovis crusts, tomatoes bled into a steel katori – for otherwise, the sandwiches would go soggy. Whirlwind of adolescent importance, I picked them up and slung them into my bag, barely thinking, I never looked back. I savoured the luxury of walking away, of ignoring the man behind bread, which was lunch, which was love, which was cut into triangles, which was neatly packed.

Artwork by Marion Willingham


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