Twenty years in one house is a very long time, but that’s the anniversary that came up yesterday for us at number 124. We had communicated with a real estate agent before we arrived from the UK and bought the first house she showed us. We moved in just over a month later. We were thirty-six at the time and it was our first and so far, only house.

Son Tom was five and has vague recollections of London, Lulu, then two, has none. This is the only family home she’s known. Which is perhaps why she was quite so vehement when we mooted the possibility of selling.  We’re empty nesters now and though we love the place, we do rather rattle and roll around in it.

Thinking about this reminded me of one of my poems in my first collection, It’s your Dad. I suppose I first wrote it about ten years ago and I hadn’t read it or thought about it for some time. It’s a little dark in some ways, but there you go, see what you think.

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Am I bothered

 

I shoot hoops alone with a deflated ball

The net hangs forlorn, dangling.

New neighbours play

In their new-to-them pool,

vacated by an older couple

moved on to a flat section.

 

My son watches Friends on TV

Study leave, brain leave

“Am I bothered?” the kids shriek cheerfully, telling me

they’re migrant Poms, like me, only fresher.

Am I bothered says the prodigal –

no words, just attitude and hooded eyes.

 

Despite myself, I’ve metamorphosed, mildly,

meekly, into middle age

We arrived like our neighbours

and now we’re not. Will I blink again

and start looking for a flat section?

 

Am I bothered?

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**** Copies of It’s your Dad are still available from bad and good bookshops or direct from me, please just private message me or email pete@petecarter.nz

Pete Carter is all over the place. He writes and takes photographs and runs an art rental business. He lives in Eastbourne in New Zealand with a wife (an artist) and two dogs, they have two grown up children, one lives in Bristol and the other in Sydney. Two books of poetry and prose are out and he has written a children's book by mistake that will be published in February 2017. This book as illustrated by his nephew. There is also a novel that rightly has not yet seen the light of day. He has had magazine articles published and poetry in anthologies. As a photographer he has had two solo exhibitions and work included in group exhibitions in NZ and overseas and has sold his work to corporate clients.

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