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‘My Dad has decided’

we’re going to the moon.
He walks around the bedroom in his socks
while we try to guess what we’re supposed to do next.

We’re supposed to know his thoughts, to know
about the moon, even though he hasn’t told us.
He expects us to read his mind.

When I question him he turns on me,
a jester’s leer across his face,
his body as red as a devil’s, and pretends it’s a joke.

I don’t want to go.
We wait around on the gravel drive.
The sun burns the back of my legs into two scarlet sores.

My aunt and a stranger
lift my mother off a makeshift chair.
She is so bent over, I cannot see her face.

We never thought that she would become frail first.



Susanna Harding lives in Staffordshire and works as a drama practitioner and theatre director, most recently as Festival Director for the Manchester Royal Exchange Children’s Shakespeare Festivals. Her poems have been published by The Interpreter’s House, Orbis, Equinox, Smiths Knoll and The New Writer. She wrote this poem immediately after a dream; ‘sometimes this process works, sometimes it doesn’t. On this occasion, it seemed to’. She submitted it as part of The Poetry School’s Online Feedback Course with Helen Mort.


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Image Credits:

Image: Gauguin’s Armchair – My Dream by Vincent Van Gogh

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons