Nan & Pop
This got me thinking about Pop’s brown pipe,
the one he would tap tap tap
on the palm of his hand
or on the side of the chair
to get the ashes out.
And of that stale smell
which I took for granted back then
(fug – that’s the word
is it not for the centuries old
get you in the back of the throat
air that was for ever held prisoner
in their thick-curtained parlour).
And now I’m thinking
of their ornaments on the fireplace
(the porcelain dogs and china cups, no cats)
and the low murmur
of the not for my ears conversations
that made more sense to me
than they realised.
Tap, tap, tap
‘Now then, lad,
what do you know?’
he would always ask.
I would always answer.
I always knew