On Discovering my Deceased Father on Google Street View


The estate dead

as if some two-minute warning

had been announced

but then that’s the demeanour

of most of these street scenes;

aftermath of one of those bombs

that preserve property

but erase people or in this case

car registrations

or simply it’s a weekday morning

beneath blue-sky definition

and everyone’s departed

except for my father,

framed in his darkened porch

under a panama hat on a break

between gardening,

polishing the brasses or both.

To his left, the garage

has yet to be converted

for his downstairs

phase of living

and the tall cordyline

waits for the winter

that will scorch it

beyond ever blooming.

But for now, his hat

casts a shade

and it’s difficult

to discern whether

he is dozing

or scrutinising the horses.

Not even the zoom function

can clarify that.

Joseph Woods, a former director of Poetry Ireland, is the author of Cargo and Ocean Letters (Dedalus Press)