Throw down a shawl on Saddleworth Moor.
‘Enjoy the picnic, children,
Remember your brother,
Quit your brawling.’
Father raises a glass of bitter flat ale,
Mother looks away,
She can’t stand his drinking.
‘It’s my Bingo, dear’, he says.
She blanches and falls silent.
Four nights a week she visits Mecca,
The religion is gambling and she’s glad to worship.
Nights at home are too cold,
There’s a silent voice that deflates frivolity.
A door that isn’t opened.
A name that isn’t spoken.
Father spends evenings in the local,
He’s not one to dwell on the past,
Sees tears as weakness,
He’s all darts and sexist jokes,
Nothing cuts through his sallow skin.
Yet today they are a family.
Projecting normality whilst drowning in misery.
Another year gone,
The picnic’s packed away
And mother wonders if her cherished son is right under her feet.
She keeps this to herself, of course,
It’s the only way to cope.