Bitter Charity by Jan McCarthy

I am not a silent poet

he’s come look no don’t look
I just wanted to check
come from his den in the foxgloves
under the tumbledown bridge where cowards fear to tread
he’s there he’s there across across the street
bare hand in bin with gilded coat-of-arms
noblesse oblige for rubbish
lion rampant regardant, coatless he under cruel April snow
where is the coat we left him?

the watching curtains twitch
those who sat cosy, chicken dinners on laps
watching the Real News far far far away
safe distance suffering you are too too close
just outside and close enough to smell
but windows are tight shut, all doors tight locked
against you, the cold, the air that makes one think

what if he’s still there when we go shopping?
they say to each other as gravyed lips go twitch
they should have rat’s whiskers so should we all

he grins a rictus as he…

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