The Patriarch


They were a good family though he tended to see
love with inverted binoculars. Spying on his
daughters from his house on the top of the hill,
he demanded they bend their spoons to his will.
He beat one of them for pretending to drink water
from the well with her girlfriends when she was
really meeting a boy she loved. Her sister
he married off to a distant cousin in a foreign land,
a familiar stranger who beat her far harder than
he would ever have done. His honour lost in translation.
But they remember him with great fondness all the same,
keeping tokens of his travels and swapping army tales
without reproach. For he lived to a grand old age
and he loved them in his own stern, silver way.


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