Lines on my father

Pete’s father was a doctor.
He looked intelligent and paused
before he said things. He moved his family
to a bigger house with an orchard
and a pantry full of vegetables and fruit
where we ate carrots if we hadn’t filled
already from the apples in the garden.

Ed’s father was not his real one.
He was a photographer with a secret
darkroom through a cupboard upstairs
who never said a word but hung his black-and-white
pictures halfway up the stairs where we’d stop
to look like we did at his camera magazine
when the erotic issue came out.

Donald’s father was an accountant
but he used to play for Scotland.
He still dressed up in shinpads
and shorts to boot the ball round with all
of his sons. He bought one of them
some drums and Donald who couldn’t play
but joined our band anyway a guitar.

My father was absent in his room,
there but not there.
There is little to tell except the time
he got angry with my mum and threw
the radio at the wall.
It smashed, but he never hit her.
He never did anything.