I learnt to lie six months ago. Slipped
and fell into deceiving like Charles
tripping into the Ribble that summer
you taught him to swim. In the wake
of that letter, dated two days after
your last leave taking, I was standing
by the pump in the yard. The sun was out,
there was a starling singing somewhere
and the boys were doing what boys do.
Least, what your boys do, finding trouble
no doubt. I worked the paper between
my fingers, half-formed a hat, a crane,
anything other than this. Cissy Carmichael
came to wash and snoop, caught sight
of the envelope and asked, innocent
enough “What’s he done this time?”
“Nothing,” I said, “He’s fine.”
Easy enough to keep saying it after that.
When it comes down to it
Despite all the signs
The faces when I tell them
The subtle intake of breath,
The pause before words,
My own gut saying ‘don’t ‘…
I still believe
There are some words
That need to be uttered,
Words that say the truth.
The truth that I must choose
I choose to say what’s true.
‘This is my truth.’
I do not choose
To leave it unspoken
Up to you.