He Waits With The Argos Catalogue by Gareth Culshaw



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



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.