The Interment

When you saved me, father, saved me from drowning
though the Atlantic that tried to drown me called me back
I spent an hour burning my shoulders to bury you in sand
from your chin to your toes, while you lay like a dead man
snoozing with crazy hair and a fag in your mouth,
as thin as a rake. It felt like an act of commitment
to bury you, to dredge the moat around you deeper
and deeper, leaving your head exposed and smoke to rise.
I was kept ashore for safety, but wanted to wade back
into the glimmeringwhere light perched, it tilted and dipped.
Now I had a new mother, I thought, who’d taught me
the vitality of fear which felt like reverence,
I needed to do it well, tamping from end to end:
to bury my father, who snoozed, in a dolmen of wet sand.

from Priest Skear (Shoestring Press, 2010), © Tim Liardet 2010, used by permission of the author

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