From dread of double maths
to when the puppy fat that dogged you
dug out bones, I’ve watched you growing
up on trains to London
and elsewhere. I know all the pet forms
of your names, handwritten on spines
weighing heavy on knees;
heavy as your years will feel, too soon.
Time is a looter. Spend your youth.
I’ve watched you growing up
on trains. First with the runaway lusts
of my sex, then as a father –
my little girl is five.
And I’ve grown as protective of you
as her, daughters I’ll never have.