Saturday Poem


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.

by Richie McCaffery
from Body, July 16 2012