Your father’s tie / has been untied.

By | 15 February 2023

Your father’s tie
has come undone.
Please tie his tie.
Your father is
please take his hand
and tie his tie.
Your father is
a machine.
He is an engineer,
he wears a dust coat
and high-vis colours.
Your father is
a man
who rarely wears a tie,
will you tie his tie
and hold his hand?
Your father
watches the street
from the veranda,
staring at nothing,
swaying in the wind
and leaning on his bad hip.
Please tie him down.
Your father brings
a plate of cut up fruit
to your room.
He forgets to say
I love you
in so many words.
He rarely laughs,
your father,
he smiles with his eyes.
Please tie his tie.
He will not ask.
Your father
gives you fifty dollars
when he remembers,
and tells you to
put it to petrol.
He bends down
so you can reach around
his neck
and tie his tie.
Kiss his head
like he used to do to you
when you were young.
Slide silk and linen
around his neck,
pulling the collar straight,
and look into his face.
Notice how your eyes
share the same space
and colour.
You have watched him grow
and grey,
tucking you in every night
and rising for work
at 4 a.m. daily, as routine
as the sun.
Please tie his tie,
the way he has dressed you
since the day
you arrived
and found home in his arms.
You knot the tie
pressed flush
against his button-up.
He looks
so small,
your father.
You kiss his cheek,
and he smiles.
You look so handsome,
you tell him.
Would you tie his tie
for the rest of his life,
when his hands have crippled
and his back has folded in?
He has orbited you
for so long.
Please stay nearby
and hold him close.
He will not ask.
But when you see
it come undone
do tie his tie,
please tie his tie,
keep his tie tied.

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