The Perfect Tear

Author: Anna Russell / Labels:

My father stands in the kithchen
His fingertips dusted with creosote stains -
The council hasn't done the fence
So he has taken on the task himself
And, oh, how I love that smell
That intoxicating aroma of cut grass and wood protector.

He and my mother have argued about money,
I heard them.
Hush-hush rasps of comfortable disdain
Seeping through the heating vent
They would be horrified if they knew.

His father fought for this country you know,
His mother worked instead of mothering
And he, utterly unaware of his role as my Superman
Believes he is failing.
This is his Kryptonite.

He is the Scottish Working Class Male,
Hands calloused from providing,
Maybe not cars and holidays and designer clothes

His arms are full of embraces
He is not sure how to give
(Later, I will learn to ask and will be rewarded every time
With a sarcastic comment, to mask the schmaltz
And then, the only hug that kills the Bogeyman.)

I go to my Secret Box Of Treasures
And remove all that I have saved in my six years -
Two pounds and twenty six pence (count it)
This will save the day and pay the bills
And then my father will be happy.

I fold the shiny fortune in white paper
On which I write a note
(Plees tak this muney, I luv you Daddy)
And make my way to the kitchen
Where I place it in his hands, bursting with pride.

And my father does something I have never seen him do before
He runs to the bathroom so I won't see, but I catch it -
The saltwater diamond on his right cheek
Glistening as it catches the light,
Is perfect in its beauty.

Anna Russell


Bryan said...

I like this. It was sweet. For some reason, it's always an emotional thing when kids realize that their parents are absent for so much because of money and they hope to rectify the situation with the contents of their piggy banks.

Anna Russell said...

Thanks Bryan.

Ryan said...

It took a while to make my way here... there is too much geography that separates us.... Rehan Hyder from PH.... This poem has been part of so many of my other poems that I hardly recognize it as yours

Rehan said...

I thought I was rummaging for Anna in the bottomless drawer of life... Anna Russel the name that fills the empty canvass of mind with hauntingly curvaceous images of absence.... no I wasn't I've never looked for you never had the strength to go beyond "Perfect Tear".... I will keep coming back for it like a pilgrim, like a thief