O Lord deliver me

o Lord deliver me
I’m waiting outside
in the corridor
staring at my trainers
on my jeans, a soup stain
reminds me of Italy
the drinks machine won’t give change
and I’m gasping for coffee
wheel-chaired women,
some groaning, some cursing,
roll into ‘delivery’
‘is that Isabel yelling?
sounds a lot like her
when she’s shouting at me’
I finger my fag packet
‘did dad smoke in Izal-stink corridors
while mum was in labour with me?’
I saw dad just once –
looked at his back as he walked away
I must have been no more than three
I’ve seen him in a photo, 
standing tall in khaki
no face though,
a singed hole where 
mum burned it away
I picture his arm round my shoulder,
“you’re a father now… cigar?”
would I follow his lead
and scarper like his dad
and his before him?
I stare at my face
reflected in a window,
my face stares back at me
if I walk away
no jury would convict
the judge would say,
“you had no example,
you can’t be blamed,
you are free to go,
without a stain”
leaving now might be more noble
than muddling through
a failing marriage
inflicting hurt on Isabel – 
the child too
having them suffer
cold detachment from me
till I clear off
leaving a faceless entity,
the doors open
a groaning chair
wheels in
somewhere a slap, 
a new-born squeals
too much noise,
too much fear,
I need fresh air,
a cigarette,
time to think,
a walk to clear my head.

© coolhermit 2023
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critique and comments welcome.
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A soup stain reminds you of Italy?

I remember those days well. My wife and I wanted to store the placenta – a cut down cryogenics – just in case the stem cells were needed in the future. Both my daughters were born by caesarian and I had to help the team by taking the placenta and syringing the blood into vials, putting them into cooler bags and scooting them off to the waiting courier. And both girls decided that they wanted to be born past midnight; happy days!



This is pretty heavy, Rick. Definitely one of your excellent “makes-you-think” poems.
The smell if Izal, hated it and their sandpaper toilet rolls.
Actually this poem really touched me, for reasons I don’t care to dwell on.
Brill stuff again.


That must be a collectors item now I guess.

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