My Father in New Year's Party Hat

To Gordon B. George (May 22, 1915-April 15, 1979)


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I gaze at a Polaroid of my father
on his last New Year. He points
at the hands of the living room
clock as it ticks toward midnight.

Made thinner from his cancer treatment,
black-framed glasses large on his pale face.
I must have garnished the Scan metal and wood
sunburst clock with the festive holly.

Who took the photo? We never owned a Polaroid.
(I have suspects.) Whose thumb casts the shadow?
Dad grins like the "jolly" Brit holidaymakers
he used to lampoon, but it's no laughing matter.

What balls it took him to uproot Mum and me
from her strong Liverpudlian Prod family, take
us to a country an ocean away. Get a load of that
monkey's bandbox hat. No wonder I detest New Year!

Christopher T. George