The news of how you’d stepped out of the pub’s
milky puddle of light on New Year’s Eve
to meet the swerve of a car’s headlamps
arrived with the same muffled shock
I imagine in your face just before impact.
So, natural teacher I’ve been told you were,
writer of long letters, pedaller through downpours,
this was the final lesson that you gave,
unsettling, life affirming: leaving my dad
gripping the kitchen worktop, the hand
that holds the phone gone almost limp
as my mum, in tears herself, props him up,
his shoulders slackening against her weight
his lovely head against her collarbone.
William Thompson is a PhD candidate in Creative Writing at the University of Bristol. His work has been published in Lighthouse, Ink Sweat & Tears, The Cannon’s Mouth and is forthcoming in The Best New British and Irish Poets 2019-2020. Twitter: @willthompson237