RG (June 1,1965 / Cheltenham, U.K.)

Diuturnity's Bite

On Thameslink home from Brighton
where I'd spent the day waiting
for the roar of grey to turn to gold
and silence, like an alchemist,
I glimpsed you at a station;

girl who rhymed and swam when I
was paddling - with a pushchair,
sucking the socket of nicotine.
Even through the grease
and scratched graffiti I could see

you were unhappy. We're a pair,
if that's any consolation:
drink is my elixir of death,
my eyes are fraying floaters
and I've lost a tooth, for ever.

Ten years on. Infinity
has blinked: 'Never again'.
Our low tides gleaming far out in the dawn
are concreted over now,
old as ammonites.

But cheerily, like Falstaff,
I am fasting-forward
my remaining spool of life.
I'll buy you cider at sunset
in the bar at the end of the line.

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