No 100 - 1985
The queue’s right out throught the glass doors
to the Street: Thursday, pension day.
They built this Post Office too small.
Of course, the previous one was smaller -
a tiny prefab, next to the betting-shop,
says the man who’s just arrived;
and the present one, at which we’re queuing,
was cherry-trees in front of a church.
The church was where the supermarket is:
‘My wife and I got married in that church’
the man says. ‘We hold hands sometimes
when we’re standing waiting at the checkout -
have a little moment together!’ He laughs.
The queue shuffles forward a step.
Three members of it silently vow
never to grow old in this suburb;
one vows never to grow old at all.
‘I first met her over there’ the man says,
‘on that corner where the bank is now.
The other corner was Williams Brothers -
remember Williams Brothers? They gave you tokens,
tin money, like, for your dividend.’
The woman in front of him remembers.
She nods, and swivels her loose lower denture,
remembering Williams Brothers’ metal tokens,
and the marble slab on the cheese-counter,
and the carved mahogany booth where you went to pay.
The boy in front of her is chewing gum;
his jaws rotate with the same motion
as hers: to and fro, to and fro.
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- Journal, The
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- Modern Poetry in Translation
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- Neon Highway
- New Welsh Review
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