Today was the first time I spoke to you
in four long years.
She foisted her phone into my beating hands
like a pusher pushing pills at a party
and I swallowed all my awkwardness
until it perched on my stomach’s seabed
and breathed a gobsmacked “hello” to my estranged father.
Flitting between fond memories
(all six of them)
and chucklesome banter
(that isn’t so chucklesome)
I laugh and I giggle and I smile and she pipes in beside me
content to be our relationship’s catalyst.
You’re away, frittering about in some far-flung country
where business is rife and you’re free from the stench of failure
failure at being a dad, a husband and a friend.
You tell me you’ll be back soon
like a perpetual Schwarzenegger, the phrase has been on a loop
in my head for the best part of a decade
so you shouldn’t expect a homecoming party anytime soon
because soon is a very long time
for such a short word.