Steven Heighton | FAMILIAL


(An approximation of “Familiale”
by Jacques Prévert, 1945)

Mother is knitting a sweater
The son’s away at war
It’s all good, she thinks, whatever
And the father, what about the father
What’s he up to (Business)
The mother with her knitting
The son away at war
And Daddy at his business
It’s all good, thinks Dad, whatever
And the son, whatever thinks the son
Sonny thinks exactly nothing
The mother knits the father counts the son fights wars
When the war is over finally
He’ll count too in business with his father
The war isn’t over and it isn’t over
The mother knitting sweaters and sweaters
And Daddy doing his business forever
The son is killed, for him it’s all over
Off to the graveyard go mother and father
C’est la vie they figure c’est la guerre
Life gets on with its killing its knitting its counting its getting
Its wars its business its sweaters
Business gets on with business, it’s business
The filling of orders, the following orders
Life gets on with filling the graveyard


Author’s Bio

Steven Heighton’s most recent books are Reaching Mithymna: Among the Volunteers and Refugees on Lesvos and Selected Poems 1983-2020. His work has appeared in Granta, the LRBPoetryTin House, and the NYTBR. This year Wolfe Island Records will release an album of his songs, The Devil’s Share.