On my 18th birthday I was out with friends
Doing what raucous teenagers do, we loitered
And ate rubbish and finally went home, laughing
At something stupid. My father had returned
Home early so he could be with me on my day.
I saw the hurt in his eyes but he never said a word
That was not his way.
But that was the last birthday together, his or mine.
I would never again sit at the breakfast table
And find a parcel waiting for me neatly tied
And his unmistakable script, “darling Ipsy”
Would forever loiter in yellowed pages
Forgotten in reams of time.
That little girl is now lost: thrown under
The wheels of daily life; Yet sometimes I wonder
Did he abandon me when he died, or did I?