Helen Sheppard



Walking with Dad


Dad says, when we are first born
our stomachs are size of a walnut.
He spews up his gut full of tiny
cannibals who eat and eat and…,
shares his cheese pickle sandwiches.
He is empty

Dad teaches a child to slide a rule.
He tells me Logarithm and amoeba
are proof of existence, computers
will devour our facts and remember
pies are always square never round
He dims down

Dad lies belly down over cliffs
at Land’s End. A child straddles
his ankles. He reaches for rocks
for his rockery. They body pivot,
stretch. Rocks splurge into squall
They are budgies

Dad sleeps behind door locks
Hospital ghosts float too close
He puckers to kiss and spit pills
Pockets full of drop stitch holes,
trail crumbs from chair to bed
He has forgotten



Helen Sheppard has worked as a midwife. Fascinated by birth and those unheard. Published in Hippocrates Prize 2017, I Am Not A Silent Poet, Blue of Noon. Performed at The Nuyorican Poets Cafe.

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