They named me ‘Gramps’ but that’s turned ‘Grumps’,
pretending I’ve misheard the call.
I’m chomping at the bit for home,
as second cheese, ‘This time you smile’,
the pointed joke with others’ laugh,
complaint that I then bare my teeth.
I cast a shadow, enforced style,
no guile for subtle late at night,
but I hate parties, wine and cheese –
another grimace with a glass –
as if advert for dentistry.
I can’t see much, hear even less,
though neither miss when in a crowd,
but can’t hide bathroom all the time.
I note their pity in a glance,
but half a chance, I’ll make escape;
they’ve just decided, must include,
to draw me in, lay out the food,
hand me balloons to rub in palms,
then these old lungs, deep breath, slow blow,
the rubber, better taste than cheese.
Strain, every celebration brings.
Stephen Kingsnorth (Cambridge M.A., English & Religious Studies), retired to Wales from ministry in the Methodist Church due to Parkinson’s Disease, has had pieces published by on-line poetry sites, printed journals and anthologies, including Poetry Potion.
His blog is at https://poetrykingsnorth.wordpress.com/