Since ever he came to live at our house
by David Lewis Paget
We’d never felt safe or sure,
So late at night we’d turn out the light
And block up the bedroom door,
We’d slide a heavy old chest in place
That he never could push right in,
We knew, with just one look at his face,
The man was riddled with sin.
Our mother, bless her, was long divorced,
Our father was gone for good,
He never called, and we were appalled
That he never came when he should.
‘Why do you need that man in the house, ’
I said, ‘You have me and Drew.’
But she would smile, ‘Well, it’s been a while,
And there’s things that you can’t do.’
We didn’t know what she meant back then
For we were too young to know,
How a woman’s won, or she bears a son,
Where a man and a woman go.
We only knew he was far too nice
When he first came into our home,
His creepy fingers, they felt like ice
So we wished he’d leave us alone.
He’d wander about the house by night,
We’d hear him mounting the stair,
And feigning sleep, not let out a peep
When we heard him breathe out there.
He’d come to a halt by our bedroom door
And stand and listen, we thought,
The tears in my brother’s eyes would glisten
In fear that we’d be caught.
His frightful stare gave a mighty scare
When he fixed on Drew and I,
Our mother said it was really sad
That he had just one good eye.
His other eye, it was made of glass
He had lost that one in the war,
It never closed, so we both supposed
That he slept, but still he saw.
Our house lay at the top of a hill
And a milk cart stood outside,
Its great cartwheels were covered in steel
And to hold it, it was tied.
One day we loosened the holding chain
As he came out into the street,
And watched the cart as it rolled on down,
Knocking him off his feet.
A wheel rolled slowly over his head
As he gave a deathly sigh,
His brains on the road were grey and red
And the pressure popped his eye.
It lay and stared at the two of us,
Was accusing us then, and still,
The memory sits and stays with us
For we’d never meant to kill.
Our mother wailed, and our mother mourned
And she kept his one glass eye,
She propped it up on the mantelpiece
‘So he’s with us still, ’ she’d sigh.
Drew would shudder and I would shake
As it followed us round the room,
We both grew up with a complex that
We’ll never get over soon.
23 June 2015