The Son – Tim Love

The son

She told him that the pain of dying was
like giving birth – it wouldn’t last forever.
She didn’t want drugs to numb the feeling.

For the funeral he ordered flowers
with long stems because the hospital
could use them after, because tulips,

unlike roses, will not boast about love,
the love that dries them out through
long winters. Their bulbs are poisonous,

not like onions, which only make him cry.
Like all lilies, they need cold shocks
to bring out the best in them.

From then on he wore hope like superman
wears underpants because Kryptonite lurked
in every playground and waiting room.

He kept her jam jar of buttons, each one
a teddy-bear’s lost eye, shaking it nightly,
staring in as if it’s a kaleidoscope.

The sun shone like the moon.
Even the stars believed him now.
He’d give it a year like he promised.


Tim Love’s publications are a poetry pamphlet “Moving Parts” (HappenStance) and a story collection “By all means” (Nine Arches Press). He lives in Cambridge, UK. His poetry and prose have appeared in Stand, Rialto, Magma, Unthology, etc. He blogs at

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