the autogeography of a no/body

Sep 18


There is a terrible stagnation in the park,
where the homeless man sleeps
in his army surplus body bag,
dog gently guardful against
all those people who have,
more or less,
failed to understand the nature
of daylight robbery.

An other man,
awake in the supermarket,
cruising the sardine aisle,
asks ‘How old do you think I am?’
and I hazard a guess –
dangerous business this talking
to strangers.

He whips his hat off his head
to show me a blizzard of white hair.
‘Seventy seven!’
Yes, there is a victory in that.
‘They put me in an x-ray tube
and my lungs lit up like Christmas trees.
Asbestosis they said.’

We talk for a while
about the relative merits of
ketchup verses lemon and black pepper,
where he can find the bread rolls,
how he can still score a triple top.
He tells me his first wife died,
but not what of.

The homeless man is still
sleeping in the park,
his boots set neatly under a tree,
his dog snuggled in for safety,
and my husband’s walking towards me.
We stop.
Hello, goodbye and everything in between.