As he packed his bags he glanced around
His son pretended to play with a toy
Not meeting his eyes
His daughter had shut herself in her room
No amount of cajoling was of any use.
His wife was busy ironing his uniform
Her forced smile unsuccessfully hiding her tears.
Every time he went out to sea, the same scene played out
They didn’t like his being away
And always were resentful of his absence.
His family also knew sailing was not just his bread and butter
But also put the jam on the table.
Along with his clothes he always took with him
A framed picture of them all
Some novels to read, some music to listen to
But the most notable was the small pocketbook
Which was more precious for him than any other treasure.
In it was encased the first milk tooth of his daughter
Along with it was a lock of hair of his son
Above all the dried petals of the first flower his wife had ever given.
With these kept close to his heart
He knew no storm, no accident could ever him harm
He called out once more to them
And they all gathered round him
As he hugged them tight he knew they were his talisman.