My father rolled his scabbed head
to the side that hurt less
and tried to hurry time by shouting to it,
Now! Now! Now!
I traded his stiff Sally Ann tweeds
and brogues for all-new discount duds.
Pyjama-soft but decent.
Sweats and zip-up cardigans.
Bags of socks and underpants.
He pulled at his clothes the way a baby picks
off their socks. At ease
only with the feeling of air on his body.
And then slept
one motionless arm curled
against the metal ramp of his bed.
I laid out rows of Ensures along the windowsill
propped his bed just enough
so he wouldn’t be straight-up horizontal.
I opened my own mouth to encourage him to swallow
plastic spoonfuls of vanilla pudding.
The delight at the taste lit up his face
in a singular fashion. The only delight left.
I wondered if it was the taste alone or the taste
together with the memory of the taste.
Melissa Bull is a writer, editor, and translator originally from Montreal. She has published, fiction, non-fiction, translation, and poetry in a number of publications, and is the editor of Maisonneuve magazine's "Writing from Quebec" column. Melissa is the author of Rue, a poetry collection, and the translator of Nelly Arcan's posthumous collection, Burqa of Skin. She lives in England.
the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan