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7 June 2017updated 04 Aug 2021 9:02pm

Pub lunch

A new poem by Anita Pati. In memoriam Norman Prowse Williams.

By Anita Pati


We’d shouldered him from the nursing home, 
wheelchair griping in the boot, and him,
dressed in his smartest pants, legs like spoons.
At the Greyhound Inn, I’d knocked his knees,
those China bowls, on the table edge
and though the pain shuddered him,
he rolled his eyes, quipped his jokes.
But how he ate – shepherd’s pie,
the wilted salad spurned for meat.
And when it was just him and me,
I couldn’t look; the mash, the peas,
his quivering hands, the arm that once
had ripped a tree from its roots
faltering with a knife. He knew I knew and
I couldn’t look when his right wrist shook
from the weight of a fork. And still
he brushed crumbs from his gabardine suit,
watched the addled families. Such a treat
to be taken out, he said. Thank you for taking me out.
After the half Guinness, apple pie, cream,
I asked, have you finished, Dad? Are you done?

Anita Pati has been a library assistant and a journalist and is now
working towards her first poetry publication.

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This article appears in the 31 May 2017 issue of the New Statesman, The Labour reckoning