Sunday morning two hours before mass
And he stood at the top of the stairs calling my name.
Eager to please I took the stairs two at a time,
There we stood, father and son together, not a word not a gesture
Only the two coins he placed in my upturned palm.
Back down the stairs and out the door
Across the road to the shop on the corner of our street,
“My dad wants codeine,” I said,
“ Show me your money,” the shop keeper replied.
Carefully I laid the coins neatly side by side on the counter
And from the bottom shelf
He took a blister pack and produced it with a flourish.
Laughing, pleased as a magician
Who had just pulled a rabbit from the hat,
Popping a blister he held a tablet up in the space
For his approval or mine I never knew.
Back to the house and up the stairs I ran, to the room
Where he now sat on the end of the bed,
Still dressed in a night shirt and black beret,
A Kerry man in London looking for all the world
Like an eccentric artist in a Paris suburb.
At 11.15 he came down the stairs with exaggerated care
As if picking his way through a mine field,
Eyes unnaturally wide his smile unnaturally warm,
His fingers tenderly caressing the rosary beads,
Eager now for priestly words of absolution.
3, 4 hours later he came home again
Smelling of sanctimony and extra strong mints.
A man made whole again by codeine and prayer.
Dennis Moriarty was born in London, England and now lives in Wales. Married with five grown up offspring Dennis likes walking the dog in the mountains, reading and writing.
In 2017 he won the Blackwater poetry competition and went to county Cork in Ireland to read his work at the international poetry festival. Dennis has had poems featured in many publications including Blue nib, Our poetry archive, Setu bilingual, The passage between and others.