Risk of Exposure
We canít breathe!
My father tells the men
in white overalls stripping asbestos
from next doorís extension.
His overreaction my earliest memory.
Iíve broken my back, boy!
Both hands on his cracked rib
at my fourth birthday party.
My tutorís voice grave:
Your fatherís suffered a stroke,
which had left him by the time
I arrived in time to miss my finals.
Itís my heartÖ launching me
home from my honeymoon cruise.
Grandpaís screaming, Dad! My sonís face
a frame of barely comprehended fear.
The man in charge removes his mask.
Itís all sealed off, pointing to the plastic sheeted
Thereís negative pressure in the room inside
which ensures no dust escapes. It was low density anyway.
Balls! My father says. I donít believe a word.
He wheezes to the couch, googles Chrysotile, Mesothelioma,
while I watch the men seal thick white sacks with tape,
suffocating whatever lies within.
If you have any thoughts on this poem, Craig Dobson would
be pleased to hear them.