Dad is shaking

his eyes are wet:
I’m not proud of me Dad
but I loved him:
his smell, washed after work,
his jokes, how he tickled me.
I remember later
feeling angry with him
me mam keening.
Now
I cannot remember me dad’s face.
He.. he never said good-bye.
Everyone is silent as Dad sobs
into his big scarred hands:
I divvent remember when I understood the truth
but I was afraid…
afraid of upsetting your Nan
of bother with neighbours
with the church, the polis,
bringing shame on our family.
Afraid for you boys –
that you’d –
he chokes, the words wrench out –
be like him.

Then Mam says:
Micky, it’s not a crime ter be gay.
Frankie’s still your son.

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