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Into the Walled Garden


Spindle backed and wo rn,
patched and flat nailed to offer b rie f rest
to some wheezy lunged subaltern by day,
a wooden chair sat, lopsided, in its timeless groove,
scraped and scratched in a dirt grouted floor tile.
Under the we ight of the sagging roof
a shifting, soiled, khaki c lad man slept.
Perched upon his smooth seat
in imp robable repose, his folded chin to his chest.
His braces were flung away to his knees,
saliva crusted on his stubbled chin
and in the corners of his slack, crac ked bottom lip.
Ragged and frayed,
spilling flour dust on top of unswept ceiling p laster,
a hessian sack lay bare, wounds open
to the urgent scratching of a pink tailed rat.
Black and gray furred, perfect in the half light
of febrile eyed survival, jet t witched upon a bead,
a pinpoint reflected in the oil gloo m g low.
White enamel dishes,
tin pressed, chipped and dented,
stacked up to heaven?s gates
in a yellow streaked butler?s sink,
gave strength to spores and scuttle limbed roaches.
In the fla ke ash drea m, above the drowsy coals,
hung stiff puttees and socks,
caked with mud and slime
and the fruit of Eden?s apple tongued betrayal.
By his chair,
beneath his heavy hanging fingers,
lay wh ite glass, speckled with a ir,
spilling still the odours of cheap wine
and stale mouths upon the coming dawn.
In the vapour drifting round his feet,
settling to the pore and the age endured,
wrinkle stained blackness that crawled
between and over his toes,
was heard the echo of madness.
The spectre of ghostly stories
could still be heard, fa int and low,
fading with his slow, brea king breath.
Stories of fa rmhouse kitchens in closer times,
when men new the world
and the way of death
to be with purpose,
Stories of fleshy armed wo men
and aprons stained with gravy and childish tears.
Tales of darkness and warm legs
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