As a policeman, most of my Grandfather’s ties
were clip-on, so that they would come away
easy as a plucked flower, should someone
try to throttle him. He died, suffocated
in an open necked shirt, the victim
of his own tobacco habit and intransigence.
I remember borrowing a black tie from my father
to attend his funeral. Dad has many black ties,
all serpentine with stomachs knotted in grief.
I thank my father for a love of fine silk ties,
for the Windsor knot which I slacken or tighten
like the grip between his hand and his father’s.
RICHIE McCAFFERY (b.1986) is a PhD Carnegie scholar at the University of Glasgow, researching the Scottish poets of World War Two. His poems have appeared in journals such as The Dark Horse, Magma, The Rialto and Stand as well as the anthologies Spinning Plates and Salt’s Best British Poetry 2012. His first pamphlet collection, entitled Spinning Plates, was published by HappenStance Press in March 2012.