The Screaming Father
The night air was humid—unable to sleep
he searched for shoes. You could follow
the canal path right down to the edge
of the ocean. Beside the lock-gates he sat,
taking in the monochrome monolith--
where the sea ended and the stars began.
A triptych of figures approached the bench
opposite, ghostly but almost human--
biomorphic substitutes painted in primer,
moving in freeze-frame steps, as if zigzagging
in and out of reality—mottled with jarring resemblances.
He saw his father in three forms—old as he is now,
as a young father, and then from before his own time--
known only to him from faded photographs.
Upon seating they coalesced—shapeshifting
into one disfigured being, a screaming father
crying in silence, with only the rolling of waves
to be heard. A face—sombre and gaunt,
with gnarled limbs and knotted veins
below a waxen and diseased skin. He waited
all night for his father—almost writhing,
the face moving subtly, continually deforming
and contorting. Somehow it didn't seem in pain,
just overstimulated, processing a whole lifetime
and from within searching for an exit—an end.
As the first rays of light pierced the monolith,
the darkness dissipates—taking his father—
he returns home to a ringing telephone.
Sean Chapman is a British writer living in Cornwall beside the capricious Atlantic Ocean and amongst the blur of a blue Whippet and a red fox Labrador. His prolonged and wayward adolescence included working in a Taiwanese astrophysics department, on a Salford mental health ward, on the Liverpool docks and in a Manchester disability support office, before washing ashore in a Cornish surf shop. Between daydreams of cowboy adventures and surfing escapades he writes poems, dedicated to Maggie, some of which have appeared or are forthcoming in Marble Poetry, Raceme, Squawk Back, Prole, Dreich, The Pomegranate London, Trouvaille Review, Feed, The Opiate and Anti-Heroin Chic.
The Ekphrastic Review
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