By Michael Pritchard, with commentary from Jess Phillips

On his finger, like a sun,
our heavy inheritance burns.
One pat can crack a young backbone.

Once, on doctor’s orders, he slipped it
with soap and pulled
elbows out until it gave
and shot the plaster with gold.

‘When I’m gone son, it’ll be your turn to wear.’

On my palm it lurched like a boulder.
On my finger; a loosened bolt.

I wonder if it chimed
like a lone church bell,
in the mortician’s sink
when my father’s father passed.
The saint, the spear, the
dragon – already smoothed
by his touch.


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