The Daughter


Squatting squalid in the bed-sit
Spitting and dribbling,
A step-down from Ascot
And betting your bottom dollar
With nothing left but debt
For last month’s rent
Hoping someone else might pay.
Littered with leftovers
Half-eaten, uneaten,
Leftovers of a life of choices
Saddened by loss
Riddled with guilt
Consumed by anger
As though it were someone else’s fault.
Chocolate éclairs and Guiness
Fattened the liver into nothing,
Sausage and vodka
Sizzled it into fibre
Until the tumour took over
With alpha-foeto-protein [1]
And someone else was hurt.
Memory stalks Streatham High Street
With the old man strutting
Past the skating rink
Going round and round in circles
Until the great fall
Where you’re left to pick yourself up
Looking for someone else’s hand.
As the hurts of the years
Spew out in venom
From a scarred face and a broken nose
In the helplessness of despair
A daughter’s care overflows
When she might have left disgusted
Like another someone else.

November 2009

[1] Liver cancer is a complication of alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver. Alpha-foeto-protein appears as an indicator of the disease