New Life

by Dylan Chaundy

Who would think that you,
a lazy gambler, could hide
those sort of secrets in
your curled black hair.
Dusty roads, trodden by those
who would stab your honest son
and burn down your farm, forged
from blood, sweat and tears.
From under the wiry mosquito
nets, I remember stumbling out
and knocking from you a
hand-rolled cigarette.
You apologised.
The Philippines was our home,
for a short while. Only you were
weaker then. Couldn’t walk.
Arthritis had set in.
But your mind was stronger,
maybe a little lonely.
I could hear you cry that one night.
Softly, I moved through among the strange
salty smells of the kitchen and into your
empty room. I noticed that the plant
beside your bed had finally given up
reaching for the open window. Not
even water blessed by the Father could
wake it now.
Lying there, you wept. It was the second
time I saw you cry. Under sheets of the shadow
you whispered to me, the ways you had cheated
and lost my Grandfather’s clean money. How you
thought your gambling had rotted away the time that
you now so wishfully had spent with your now valuable
children. It was painful for you now, wiping the tears
from your eyes.
You were curled up like a baby
in the womb. You, I’m sure, are fine
in your new life.
Sometimes, I feel that long shard
of guilt run through me, as I remember,
that was I, who should have apologised.