O mio babbino caro

The final betrayal is done
mixed and given
with blood and milk
honey and hemlock.

The old bird, our father
tipped from his crumbling nest
into the clinical crooks
of strangers

his lucid thoughts
dosed with our vagueness
his wandering ones gathered
and tied in a bow for the vase.

But truth hangs in the room
stark and dripping
bloodied haloes
above all our heads.

Oh our beloved father
let us play Puccini for you
while we taint your spoon
with their gruel.

Julie Watts (Western Australia)

First published in Julie’s book Honey & Hemlock, Sunline Press 2013.

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