My Perfect Father

by Katrina Naomi

held my mum’s hand for the three days
I took to be born, worked nights so she could sleep
between feeds, soaped me with Johnson’s Baby Bath
alongside two floating books of ABC,
taught me to spell playing Scrabble,
offered a pink Smartie if I got the letters right
and yellow when they were wrong,
led nature walks through bluebell woods,
showed me how to swim at Margate pool,
dried my tears when I was scared of diving,
bought me my first Speedo when I did,
loved my mother, my sister and our beagle Simba,
shared his money so we had plenty to eat,
didn’t shatter an airing rod across Simba’s back,
didn’t sleep with nurses, didn’t leave my mum,
my sister, Simba and I. Never lied.