Family Portrait

Chips in the rosewood, cracks in the glass, faces aren’t too pleasant either but go on –

Listen to their buzz. Them, sitting tea-stained. Open-top tour bus and ‘Isn’t it a bumpy

ride’. Sister Mary: attractively dressed, sitting in the sunshine reading her book, eating

something sugary before the blood test that’ll kill her and give Dad his special pencil

case called No Friends, Weirdo, and Quick-Run-Or-He’ll-Stab-You next to Grandpa

with his fanny pack and Grandma always dressed in black. Yes. Dig deep. Spot

Mum’s slip sitting on the back row, looking in her compact, fumbling with her belt.

You’re a mini excavator. A tracked excavator. A cherry picking long reach excavator

in search of names of those who’ll pass you genes. Keep searching through the fading

ones, jaded ones. Look for empties, peruse the ante-mortem and carry on. Start again

with cousin Billy who chokes on a runner bean, holes in place of faces of those who’ll

never ever be sm o k e r s, or homeless, 10 megapixels and toneless, pawnbrokers,

stockbrokers, fuckit-gun-toting lawbrokers who won’t live beyond the age of this


Callum lives with his family in Deal, Kent where you’ll find him writing by the sea or in the haunted chair at his local Pub. Fixated by tales of the supernatural, Callum fell in love with the classic Victorian-Edwardian Ghost Stories of MR James, Edith Wharton and EF Benson from a young age. He studied Creative and Professional Writing at Canterbury Christ Church University. Find him on Twitter @callum_beesley.