Posted in Before the Rain

Paternity

It was like being on parole –
everybody in the workplace knew, 
knew I hadn’t quite met the standard –
was the least unsuitable –
was on a renewable contract: performance dependent. 
The days went quickly,
work fixed and flexible
50% on projects ….
50% spare part – where needed. And when.

Different people, different standards, different expectations ….
most are kind,
some offhand,
others distant.

By rotation I am assigned to Paul. 
We are the same age.
Both in first workplace.
Both from education –
me university, him high school.
His father works here too.
We talk questions – where and when – no who. Not yet.

New waters are too shallow to floatfor conversation 
but
self esteem has a prepared speech …
about his father,
and his father’s friendship with the director.

Confession :
Insider trading. He wants me to know. He knows I already do.

Absolution
“I started as a temporary – digging out stumps – I’ve proved myself.”

Exculpation
“I don’t work with my old man … most days I don’t even see my old man.”

‘Son of,’
a disfiguring birthmark he can’t not announce.
Or renounce.
Or let uniform cover, 
or stop picking.
Sympathy thinks dog and lampshade
and resolves never to emit the odour of nepotism.
One evening beer soaked tongues confide my nickname –
“ the lucky bastard.” – conferred by Paul.

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Author:

Most of my life has been spent on the bench, occasionally called into the game by extravagance or attenuation. Waiting has turned a loner into a recorder - nondescript and inconsequential, more not noticed than overlooked - the non-vantage point of children not yet considered old enough to understand. Orphaned Islands (Un)poetry is a lifetime of picking anecdotes up and not throwing them away. Stories collected like odds and ends placed in a box in the basement, the garage, the garden shed - uncertain as to what their use might be but knowing that one day there might be one.