My father's hands row to make a point on politics, today's youth, education, dark from the open air and mud he works with.
Fingernails chewed from past tensions.
Scars breaking the skin from hard graft.
From the city's best school, he deserves better than a two-bedroom flat with his wife no longer my mother.
We visit on Sundays - a ritual to update each other on our different lives.
We are happy, but it's not family conversation.
It's different somehow.
We are awkward from his hopes.
"Use your brain better than I have."
Our attention switches to his hands.
These things get you nowhere.
But surely they could.
TES FRIDAY november 20 1998 Michael Blackley, aged 16 receives 'The New Poetry' edited by Michael Hulse, David Kennedy and David Morley (Bloodaxe). Submitted by Richard Grant of St Columba's High School, Perth, who receives a set of Poetry Society posters with teacher's notes. Please send poems to 'The TES', Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1 9XY. Ann Sansom is writing tutor at Doncaster Women's Centre and is a part-time lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University. Her collections include 'Romance' (Bloodaxe)