The Questions

accumulated with missing relations
in photographs of his grandad’s family,
his Nana’s dropped dark hints.

On one of his regular visits his Nana says

“You know don’t you?”

And he recalls how he knew.

A photo of his Grandad’s mam in a thick long black
coat big buttoned up to her neck underneath
a nineteen twenties hat.

His Nana says she lived opposite them.

Whenever grandad returned from work
she heard his mam’s black boots on the gravel,

and, without knocking his mam
would invade their front room.

Little hints.

Nana says before Grandad was born
his mam took in lodgers.

Grandad never spoke of his dad.
When asked he would say
“I’m not interested.”

Afraid folks would say he was degenerate,
Feeble minded. Confirmed by his persistent illnesses.

His mother was immoral, a degenerate.
He was feeble minded. This was an infection.
Others would catch if they talked to him.
Always ill.

Paul Brookes @PaulDragonwolf1 is a shop asst. His chapbooks include The Fabulous Invention Of Barnsley, (Dearne Community Arts, 1993), The Headpoke and Firewedding (Alien Buddha Press, 2017), A World Where and She Needs That Edge (Nixes Mate Press, 2017, 2018), The Spermbot Blues (OpPRESS, 2017), Port Of Souls (Alien Buddha Press, 2018), Please Take Change (, 2018). Forthcoming Stubborn Sod (Alien Buddha Press, 2019), As Folk Over Yonder (Afterworld Books, 2019). He edits The Wombwell Rainbow Interviews.

Banner Image by Robert Frede Kenter @frede_kenter