Tissue (Paul Hetherington)

He thought of his family:
how his mother had been locked into grief
about something she couldn’t name
and was passionately present
or strangely, remotely apart;
how his father had studiously cared
but had been poor in anger’s vocabulary;
how they had grown together
and separated—children and parents
now ghosting each other’s lives—
and how every moment was still present
in the places he’d lived,
so that going back was to return to a house
more drab than he’d remembered
and find the conversations again strewn
like tissue all over the furniture
(though the furniture had changed
he could see the old chairs
as if they still had pride of place).
Everything was as it was;
everything was just a moment ago
or about to happen
and although he’d been through it before
the dismay and surprise
suddenly contracted in his guts.
He pushed his way, six years old,
escaping quietly from a darkened room.