you said we'd go the canal for the day -


family day out


shallow waters,

not deep enough to drown in

though God knows I tried

Mum cries and you shout

(always the same)


family photograph -

just the edges of faces,

too angry to stay still for

even a moment,

blurred as we walk off

(in seperate directions)


gritted teeth and glinting dangerous eyes

dirty canal water is forced down

man-made thresholds;

you concrete up the seams to our

dysfunctional family tree


pass out the squashed sandwishes

and we sit in the car (February rain

thrashing against the windscreen)

stony silence:

just because we're related

doesn't mean that we're family