30/30 Challenge – Day 1

by leahatherton13

I wrote this one in work today. Initially I was a little skeptical about how quickly it came together but sometimes it does just happen that way, and it’s cleared something that’s been on my mind for a while.

This letter is addressed to my father; I always called him the Old Wolf and it was a nickname that everybody else coined later on but it was a name between us for a very long time.



In Reply

Hey Old Wolf,
I got that letter you sent.
It was written in code in the branches
of trees and the flocks of birds across the blue,
but I got your letter in the end.

You told me the spring is coming,
told me change is coming and
keep a weather eye on the horizon,
told me to buckle up, check the supplies
you told me you’ve got my back.
I already knew that.

I went running the other day,
just me and the road and the quiet
that comes early in the morning
before even the bin men have come round,
but I know that you were with me.
It’s not exactly Clennon,
and I can’t yet face taking the path
up over Sugarloaf Hill where we would go together
to see the sky meet the ocean far below us
and the Bay stretched out like a welcome embrace,
but you were there with me, and I know you were proud.

You were right about so much, Papa
and I wish I could tell you that.
It’s hard sometimes, not being able to talk to you,
and I miss being able to pick up the phone
and tell you about my adventures;
I wish you could have been there for so many of them.

I finally made a team, you know –
I went to Oxford and I made squad,
and I know it’s maybe not quite the way you’d hoped
but I wished so hard you could have been there
when it all happened, just to see your face.
There are trophy shirts in my drawer now, Papa,
and not just the ones you left me, but mine.
We would have cut quite a sight
out running together on the trails, you and I,
and it’s weird knowing we’re not going to
when I get on the train south.

It’s been six years, Papa,
and it’s still weird having to stop
from asking to talk to you when I call home.

I’ve got friends now, Papa,
good friends, the kind
you always told me you could count on your hands,
the kind I would want next to me in line.
You’d like most of them,
they’re our kind of people.
We’re running the Wolf together,
sixth anniversary no less,
and hell if that fact doesn’t tickle me.
They all know your legend, you know;
they can see your grin in mine,
they tell me I have your eyes.
I do.

I made mistakes too, not many
but enough
I gave too much of myself when I shouldn’t
and got left with nothing but
loose change and heartache –
or I didn’t, and stagnated.
You always told me that the wolf in us
has to choose too or we’d eat their hearts alive,
that we are too wild to be brought to heel
and play at domestication.
I didn’t listen;
I wish I had.

The mountains called me home, Papa,
and the sea holds me in sway.
I have a wolf in my smile now
and roads in my boots –
I got that from you.

I’m doing ok now, Papa,
you taught me to be strong and
I’m doing ok now.

There’s a smooth path down by the river,
I’m going to run there later,
watch your signature in the curve of the bank.

I got your letter, Old Wolf.
It took a while but I got your letter,
and the birds are telling me you’ve got my back
but I already knew that.

I miss you.