My Father’s Belt, by M J Sully

My Father’s Belt

looped around my waist,
moves when I breathe
like a phantom limb.
The leather cracks,

moves when I breathe.
With bronze lustre
the leather cracks
as if with laughter.

With bronze lustre,
his face creased
as if with laughter
as disease spread.

His face creased,
a shifting of skin,
as disease spread
its tightening belt.

A shifting of skin
drawn across bone
like a tightening belt;
his body buckled.

Drawn across bone
this broad strap
buckles my body
with a strong clasp.

This broad strap
holds me together
with a strong clasp
like my Father’s arm.

Holding me together;
like a phantom limb
my Father’s arm
loops around my waist.


— Published 1st of March 2021


About M J Sully

M J Sully studied Advanced Creative Writing at the Open University, passing with distinction. Publications include Prole, Strix, Obsessed with Pipework and Trouvaille Review and she was long-listed for The London Magazine Poetry Prize 2016. She is currently putting together a pamphlet of poems about dementia, inspired by her experience of looking after her mother.