He Waits With The Argos Catalogue
He sits, stained by tobacco, with a paper
on his lap. Seventeen candles skyscrape
a window sill. Four photos hide plaster cracks.
A cobweb connects two walls, dust, thick
as moss, covers bookshelves. He whistles
a song only his ears know. His mouth
appears to be holding a hot chip as it
pushes out a riddle. The phone wakes up
the ceiling. The man rises, leaves his paper
on the table. He answers it with a stubbled
chin. Sockless feet hold years of work.
His nails are frosted onto his toes.
The phone call is a few sentences long,
then he turns back to his chair. A bucket
of coal stands by the hearth, matches
sprawled on the rug, lie in their own
temper. He gets up, tries to shake out
the creases of his legs. A clock ticks
The argos catalogue sits open as a new sky.
The velvet pile of grey carpet starts
to thread as the hairs on his head.
He opens his front door. Sunlight falls in,
and his daughter follows with a box of
fresh veg, beer, and a bunch of green bananas.
Gareth Culshaw lives in Wales. He has two collections by FutureCycle called The Miner & A Bard's View. He is a current student at Manchester Met. Gcwculshaw.moonfruit.com Twitter - @culshawpoetry1
About This Poem
I had the image of a man I use to know when very young, a coal miner called Ted. He would be in his house alone for years watching the fire burn. I never knew if he had a family or not.