Sport 2: Autumn 1989
It's not a question or a matter of choice
so much as habit and a nagging sense of...
you said it, responsibility. And because
the road goes this way instead of that
you take it, sort of accepting what one
insufferable old fool said about breaking
new ground usually — well probably — being
an illusion. You're visiting your father whose
interest in you's revived now that your girlfriend's
broken the ice, so to speak, and got onside.
She is, he says, 'all right', and what he
says to his mates you can guess and hit
the jackpot first time. That's life isn't it.
He's into autumn and the skin on his face
is like a swatch of newly-fallen leaves.
He says, 'I thought they were getting ready
to beam me up the other day. Didn't feel good
at all.' You wouldn't have laughed near
as much if you hadn't believed him.
When you get up to leave you nudge him
and shake his shoulder as if he were
your son, and you try to walk with a
distinctly purposeful stride as you
go to your car, get in, wave and toot
and pull away like a reformed hell-raiser.
It's not yet five o'clock, late March,
and the teasing trace of a lost summer's pace
quickens, and then, perceptibly slows,
and the highest clouds stall and hang
between the blue and you, and you too.