Between The Covers

It’s not my mother’s pearls
I covet, nor the original watercolours,
the finely-crafted Tasmanian furniture.
It’s my father’s books I want,
not because General Robert E. Lee
gallops across the page
but because of a singular image
preserved between the covers.
An image that opens up in my mind
like a treasured book
I must keep safe under hard glass.
It is evening, my father is seated
in his large leather recliner,
an open book resting in his palm,
reading glasses perched like sentinels
on the tip of his nose.
I can’t see my mother
but I know she is seated opposite,
legs elevated and crossed,
her abundant arms
bearing The Age newspaper.
After the uncompromising demands
of the day time has slowed,
measured now by each quiet,
companionable breath.
As I open the pages of my father’s books
I am bowled over by the power of love
– and also sprinkled, ever so lightly,
with a dusting of envy.