A Poem by Helen Kay

Bedtime Story

I sussed it. Walter Weasel painted the statue
because he let slip the colour – red, and
PC Pug never told him that. Dad grinned.

Dad wore a suit and I rarely saw him,
but at story time he was mine – reshaping
his boyhood heroes, Brer Fox and Larry Lamb.

He squatted on the pink nylon carpet
by my bed. A rubber fairy-castle
lamp defended us from Dennis Dark.

I curled up in the scent of Silk Cut,
but often Dad was first asleep and I
was left to complete his stories:

the one where Brer fox goes vegan
and Walter is an eco warrior
and I have learned to sleep without a light.

Helen Kay curates a project to support dyslexic poets (fb Dyslexia and Poetry). Her pamphlet, This Lexia & Other Languages was published by V. Press in July 2020. She has retold all her dad’s improvised and often repeated stories to her own children – with embellishments.

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