I had a dream my two girls, grown up,
with their intelligent eyes and nuanced, searching faces,
stalked up to me at Christmas, or something very like Christmas,
and their faces said, ‘Dad, we’re sorry it didn’t work out with Mum,
but we’ve forgiven her.’ And I beckoned them come hither,
and fond of me as they are, with that wry, faux reluctance
best becoming intelligent women, they came hither,
and my look said, ‘So you should forgive her, girls,
she’s a marvellous woman and if we’re being honest
I should never have let her get on my bus in the first place,
knowing what I know about Cockburns before me,
about rocks melting with the sun
and everyone getting under the table when the phone rang;
I should have wound down my SORRY, NOT IN SERVICE sign,
switched off my interior lights and driven straight back to the depot,
but you know, girls, your mother was only cold like anyone
and probably not any less selfish, and I was selfish too
and I wanted to love and fuck your mother always;
so I took her little ticket off her, which was furry from use,
and she took my little ticket off me,
which also was furry from use, and off we went.
And we laughed and cried and mostly cried aboard my bus
as it rattled along, just holding together on the faint promise
of the sort of destination one hopes, upon reaching, to concede,
with a wry, faux reluctance best becoming intelligent women,
was certainly there all along. And whether it was or not,
look at you two, you’re perfectly wonderful
and you’ve got the knack of living – that’s all your mother –
she hates that sort of talk too, but it’s Christmas, girls,
or something very like Christmas, and I can be as camp and weary
as I please, and can’t a man draw the loveliness of women
around himself like sand if he wants to?’ At which point
their two boyfriends, who I knew in the dream were fond of each other,
came in, each enjoying the other’s company,
but, it being late and they being men, wanting only really
to draw the loveliness of women around themselves like sand,
and my girls kissed my cheeks, first the eldest, then the youngest,
and smiled at me, and I smiled too and my smile said,
‘Go to them, girls, it is to them you should go.’