I was parking the car in the garage
When you tapped at the window,
Making me skin-jump-heart-pop fast
At the handbrake. Surprise coming
Before that washing of hands, gum
And deodorant had hid my dog-end frame
To made me feel your good girl again.
With measures of love in your eyes,
And disappointment and truth
You said: "Give it up now Hannage,
Before it really gets too hard to stop,
While you have a choice."
You walked away, your truth entrusted
To the student daughter:
She had been busted.
Guilt and shame before that shrug
Denial: "But I am no addict,
So what harm Dad, in one more packet?"
Brief years on, I didn't even bother
Climbing out of the window at midnight
For my moonlit puff.
Didn't bother hiding the packets
Or the lighters from you. Gradually,
Even your purchase from Jersey trips
Was tobacco tips from Duty Free.
My "Things" joined your pipe -
Sanctioned tools for us thinking types.
I have stopped now. Several attempts first and misery,
Always reminding me of you by the car,
Cautioning me of the difficulty and the pain.
I wished many times I had heeded,
Took on trust this truth: that seeded addiction
Grows fast and steely in our breasts
And that we can't act easy after early arrest.
And I wonder. Was there a time, father
A glass, or a bottle you poured,
Where I could have skin jumped you,
Stopped you in your tracks,
And said: "Give up now Dad, before it controls you"?
Did I foresee this future: the blackouts, the nerve damage,
The sweet bully guarding all life to ensure the next
Sauvignon delivery to your bloated liver?
And do I have to watch this?
Really, tell me. Do I have to watch?
I let my mind go back through time,
And grief makes a scream, a claw for a window,
That magic handbrake
That might time travel
To a different outcome.
You are busted.
Too late busted.
And you don't care.