With the six o’clock news on Thursdays,
Uncle Tom, smelling of sweat and sawdust, brought
the Dandy – and the Beano! Unlooked-for,
like a lodger, in the bare, spared room over
the hall of brasses and ‘Off Valpariso’,
bachelor Tom had no more substance
than Lord Snooty or Desperate Dan.
He had been gassed twice and died of bronchitis
the year the King died of cancer. I lost
his chisels, which he honed but never used,
one by one in the garden. I cannot
shape my memories into life. His tools
rust in a stranger’s earth.