Question & Answer 2 – Cal Freeman

Question 2

Fourteen bells ring out for the first place
I could never call a home. At least
Ten held my growth, nurtured my words
and gave me a Kevlar chest.
This place will haunt my dreams at best,
throw me down the well
and insist on a girl with a two ton
fist. Yet all I can see

is the garage to be torn down
and a neighbour who
carries knives like my demon carries
the hearts of other
women. The heart of a daughter who
doesn’t know what
diseases she can pass down to her son.
Whether to screen for some

kidney problems [yes] or the potential
for a psychotic break [maybe].
I want to set myself alight, run through the flower
bed and burn every sorry
excuse for gardening. I want to break
my back on the phone box
and cry secrets to the operator. I want
to write witty lines about suns

and stars and sons. The kintsugi tiled path
is back as a stop gap
for rendezvous disguised as fishing excursions.
I was promised Subbuteo
in Redruth, watched my dad leave to visit his
parents, me in the bedroom
window. The next time I watch him leave will be
in Truro, for someone not

my mum. Why do we mourn those who barely
even care for us?

– Aaron Kent

Answer 2

I don’t know the names of the flowers
the dirt kept coughing up, but digging
those perennial bulbs from the front of the house
in 2004 was my one failed attempt at destroying
a garden. It isn’t that what crops up despite

being unloved is resilient, nor is it
that our mothers are forlorn.
I’ve given up the belief that I have the agency
to destroy anything.

We used so much plastic
at our last Christmas party, probably
four Hefty bags worth. When I was a child,
my father had a cat named Boccaccio.
An orange cat lingers in his voice to this day,
half-heartedly pawing at apothegms like,

Fathers are only capable of destroying themselves
in the maelstrom of their leaving, or,
In the end every hypochondriac is his own prophet.
The skin around the eyes will swell
with excess bilirubin prior to renal failure.

Redruth coheres just beyond the dormer
of this musty upstairs room (phlox,
huckleberry, cedar), and I, too, have mistaken
the tacit promise of a quaint neighborhood
for the absence of a threat.

– Cal Freeman