Winter 2007 Poetry Competition First Prize

Living with Shadows


by Caroline Davies



You have forgotten how to eat.

The realisation comes to me suddenly

as I watch you push

your fish fingers around your plate,

cut your bread into ever smaller pieces.


I try to visit every day

on my way from work

before collecting my sons from nursery.

You don’t know you are their grandfather.


You tell me about your daughter

who works hard at school.

‘Always does her best.’

It makes me want to cry

because I never realised

how much you cared.

Spent my childhood afraid of your rages.


The anger’s all burnt out now.

You ask me again who I am

and ignore the answer because it doesn’t fit

your new world view.


There remains the problem of the fish fingers.

What to do?

I know I should take the fork

from your hand, spear the finger

and put it in your mouth.


In half an hour I’ll be doing tea

for my toddler and my older son.

I can’t bring myself to feed you too.

This delayed flowering of love comes too late,

too late.

 ©2007 Caroline Davies

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