My father was a quiet man.

The kind of man who wears football shirts proud but chants soft upside his head.

The kind who turned tools in his hands and let them speak loud for him.

Look, his eyes’d nod, for I fixed up a shelf smelling pine to place your word-filled books upon. And here, a table built of oak strong to rest your tea atop.

His handprints are everywhere in this house.

They hold up the walls and keep close the windows.

He said that god bestows a certain number of words on giving life, and once you’ve used them up that’s it. So he saved and stored them up, kept them safe locked like pickles inside a jar, certain he’d need them one day.

But in the end it happened that before he had a chance to taste the salty lick of all those stored and saved words upon his tongue his heart stopped, sudden as a cat jump.

After he passed I found a book fat with his words, hidden underside his bed. Maybe those words drifted to his mind when he dreamt upon them, colouring them up all rainbows and bright? I don’t know for I've not opened to read it. I can’t seem to do it. With the weight of aged leather in my hands, there's a turning in my stomach each night I try.

So. Instead I sleep soft above his words now.

Through a pillow fat with feathers I keep them safe. Tucked tight to the book, the words he kept hidden his life long whisper me dreams as I sleep.

And, with my head resting heavy upon them, they hold me up, same as he always did.