Jan/Feb 2015 Poetry


by Bob Bradshaw

Image courtesty of the British Library's Photostream


Here he is in 1945, in uniform, eighteen years old,
his arm wrapped around a girl's waist,
beaming like a submarine recruit

allowed on deck. My father was always
adventurous, standing in a spray of sparks
on a high beam, welding,

or racing a stock car on a local track.
He had survived the war.
He wasn't afraid to try things:

like delivering a neighbor's baby
one night when the town doctor
fermented on a bar stool.

At sixteen, hadn't he lied about his age, and enlisted?
Hadn't he served on three ships
that were torpedoed?

In his last weeks he never complained.
Struggling with a fire in his chest, he spoke
of how my sister and I had made him happy.

His body began shutting down.
Unable to move or speak,
did Dad know rescue was impossible?
I held his hand, neither
of us willing to let


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