In our household
of bustling, bouncing, bumbling
we did not hug.
Like chicks and a nest, at six or eight
we were pushed
off the lap with its warmth and surrounding,
and we were told,
“Big boys don’t need cuddles.”
Returning from boarding school, I would see Dad from the train window
as the train slowed, Dad waiting to see his boy,
and he held out his hand for me to shake,
his huge farmer’s hand with warmth and surrounding,
I didn’t need to be told, “big boys don’t cuddle.”
I still long for Dad to hug me:
Dad who has died and can longer shake my hand.
I weep when I feel the embrace of God.