I wonder how we would spend the time,
my father and I, if we were able, somehow,
to share a few minutes together.
Perhaps ten minutes would not be too much to ask for,
to initiate, develop, and then conclude
our father-son relationship.
‘Hello,’ I would start. ‘I’m your son.’
I know, he would reply. You have my eyes and beard.
‘How about a quick sketch?’ I would ask,
and he would scribble one in my notebook.
How about a poem? he would ask,
and I would hand him ‘Song to My Father’,
a copy of which I’d brought along.
We’d strum a couple of guitars and sing a song.
Perhaps ‘Imagine’, which I’d come across
in his record collection; in keeping with the original
to start with, but finishing in daft, mock-operatic voices.
I’d ask him for one piece of advice
and he’d say, You’ve got to be joking
and I’d say, ‘Of course I was joking.’
Then we’d pour a couple of too-generous measures of Bushmills
and drink a toast. ‘Here’s to us!’ we’d bellow,
clink our tumblers, and glug.
He’d give me a look. My look.
I’d raise an eyebrow,
and we’d both look at the bottle. And laugh.
A silence would follow.
I’m sorry this never happened, he’d not say,
and I wouldn’t reply, ‘It is what it isn’t.’
A farewell and we’d be back
to our respective planes of existence,
slightly less sober; both of us reflecting on how
two people not meeting each other can happen to anybody.