I like to wear a band around my wrist,
an amulet of copper, links of bling,
a hippy weave of cotton or dried grass.
Reminds me of the change
my father made as I grew up
from toddler to walker. Crossing a road
he stops holding my hand
and wraps his finger and thumb
around my wrist.
My bracelet now is like the brag
of a teenager leaving home,
flashing a cell-phone
where father’s number sleeps.
I wear my father’s hand around my wrist.
About this poem
This poem was included in Best Scottish Poems 2006. Best Scottish Poems is an online publication, consisting of 20 poems chosen by a different editor each year, with comments by the editor and poets. It provides a personal overview of a year of Scottish poetry. The editor in 2006 was Janice Galloway.
Delicately turned, a little manly emotional evasion nonetheless bannered for all to see.
I know very few of my poems by heart and one of those is a poem for my father. So I am really chuffed to have sent this poem for my father out into the world and to have it noticed. It does I think capture his way of loving his children which was reticent but clear. And it is perhaps because of his reticence I still need to keep him near. This poem does that for me. I have written many poems about my family. This is one of my favourites. It touches on the need for intimacy and the need for independence, an ambivalence which families should nurture.