Yes he’s far too old
Yet wanting to be wanted
He mixes drinks on top of medication
Forcing conversation onto Office-Party girls
Who do not give ‘one hoot’
For modern art – ‘But then why should they?’
This being his reply
They grant embarrassed smiles
Group-signalling ‘weird guy’ behind closed hands

He thinks such dazzling beings need
More ‘Christmas Champagne Cocktail!’
But the song he stands to sing
None remembers or knows –

If Cupid’s flight hits turbulence
Resting on a blasted-oak
Or tender olive leaf
He cares so little for his perch
As any crumpled punter in a bar –

And with his teeth unnaturally ice-white
Sparse hair enhanced blue-silver from a sachet
Nothing can restore years cast away
Shepherding his wrinkled sheaf of verses

But time that stored all memory within them
Now makes a vicious audit


The soles of father’s shoes
And in the lining of his coat
The elder son has written
With ‘mobile’ number underneath
And this return address –

His former father’s home



Bernard Saint
Illustration: Claire Palmer

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