My Da was afloat on an inflatable
mattress on the living room floor for over a year.
His femur, tibia, and fibula replaced
by a metallic scaffold, fused
by nuts and bolts that blistered and raised his bruised skin
like scorched sap on a gum tree.

My mother, sister, brother, and me, from the discomfort
of bed, heard his legs pounded to smithereens
by two lads from our road. I was kind of glad
they did it and not me. He lay like old gum
I’d rescue from the kerb, bless, and clean
as though signing the cross could restore
it to its former self. He spent the next two years prostrate on a bed
in the old Meath Street hospital. Blood clots
threatened his life on two occasions. I grew
to love him in that condition.

He was out of it then, pin-eyed on opiates,
buoyant, on a foldaway lifeboat,
in the wreckage of his big ideas
and the musk from Nan’s old eiderdown.