I keep remembering Dad’s wedding reception
when Grandpa lost the word lily.
My hand out pointing to one of the centrepieces,
white flowers spilling over onto the table like wine.
I had the garden in my head
when I asked him to name them.
The garden out behind the bungalow he built
that he always kept so neat. I saw him on his knees
in blue overalls, pruning. I saw him pretending
not to mind as a football went crashing
through the fuchsias. Then I saw his eyes,
panicked and dark as the hole where a word should be,
some kind of —
and my dad said lily and this is how we manage.
Dad keeps the word lily. I keep the sunlight and the grey squirrels
cascading across the lawn on Sunday mornings.
And together we remember everything.
JOSHUA JUDSON is a poet from Nottingham. He’s an alumnus of the Mouthy Poets program and a member of the Barbican Young Poets family. His debut pamphlet Gongoozler is forthcoming from Bad Betty Press in 2021.