The stranger who lives in my house
The stab of the screw causing the cork to jettison with a pop.
The crystal ring and slosh as the poison is poured into the glass.
A colour deeper than blood, a fitting substitute to flow through his decaying veins.
He licks his pale lips eager for the taste on his tongue, to feel it in his mouth and body.
The tense raging hunger, need, desire and longing is finally quenched, for an hour or more.
He returns to his chair before the TV, turning it on
With a determined press of a button on the controller that never leaves his table.
The wide screen jumps into life with such colour and energy.
That force has long left his body, no one can remember a time when he wasn’t this way.
The news and weather again and again and again and again.
The global disasters, famines, bombings and corrupt politics flicker
Over his glazed grey eyes, watching the world spin and change.
A world he no longer feels part of, a world he thinks no longer needs him.
All are excuses, reasons, motives, as feeble as the hand that lifts the poison to his mouth once more.
To take one more sip, one more mouthful,
One more glass, one more bottle
Empty as his heart despite the pleading looks of his children,
The tears in his wife’s eyes, all hoping, praying, wishing, waiting,
For him to change.
To be the father that used to laugh, his eyes once filled with happiness.
To be the husband that used to smile, a smile once filled with love.
That man has long since left their home and their hearts.
This is what it has come to; his days spent decaying before the TV,
His body crumbling and withering like the autumn leaves outside.
The poison that is so delightful claiming more of his soul, his spirit,
His mind, his body and his life.
A life he will not fight for.
The man that now sits in my father’s chair is not my father.
Just a reflection, a look alike but empty of his heart.
A ghost that haunts us with misery, sadness, shame and regret.
A perfect stranger that we simply call Dad but acts nothing like him.