Vulcan In His Forge Contemplates Forgiveness

When he leaves, the three of us
douse your dad’s apartment,
you stand there, watching,
with the scent of kerosene
caught in your straw-blond hair,
lighter gripped tight in your fist,
as we empty the last
of the canisters over his carpet
and bless the dwelling with burning.
Your sister swings her sledgehammer
over her shoulder, the air foul
with smoking rubber tyres
still attached to the expensive bicycles
she tempers with fury into the shape
of a childhood spent riding
to the top of the street and back.
His records drip through the cabinets
to an mp3 of carmina burana,
black as the bile of your humour,
every bottle of whiskey smashed
against the walls, seeping into its paper.
I hold both of your hands,
waiting for smoke to curl in your eyes.
we stay until the ceiling collapses
and thread our way
out past the fire-engines,
hoods up, masks pulled low.

I am no longer frightened of matches -
hold them between thumb and forefinger,
Lawrence of Greater Manchester.
You say A father is a father is a father
who cares only for the craft of the hands
but look at my knees, how the spine holds me,
and she makes thunder on his car bonnet,
turns imperfect iron to faultless steel,
the glow of her unbroken gaze
meeting his behind the glass
where he sits strapped into his throne.
You do not have to forgive him.
There is nothing left to save.
Tell him You will not deny me love,
I will take it for myself.

Leave him, and we will limp
that last mile home to meet your mother,
and those who know divinity when they see it.

Are you okay?

    Not yet, but someday.


AMY KINSMAN is a poet and playwright from Manchester, England. As well as being the founding editor of Riggwelter Press, they are also associate editor with Three Drops From A Cauldron and the host of a regular open mic. Their work has appeared in, or is forthcoming from, Clear Poetry, Pidgeonholes, Prole, Rust + Moth and Valley Press.