My uncle, my father’s brother, only ever shakes hands;
A formal greeting of two men of macho equality,
free from any familial tenderness, vulnerability or care.
From memory, it was much the same with my grandfather.
Why should I expect any warmth from him when his own
father could not give it to his son?
When my uncle had his own babies, I often wondered
if he had softened his approach.
Did he comfort his crying child,
or leave him be to build strength of character?
When my mother’s brother returned from overseas
and met me for the first time, he wanted a hug -
something to which I only reluctantly agreed.
It is so easy, it seems, to catch a chill.
A poem about emotional illiteracy amongst certain men.