He was an old bloke. Not a bloke
looking young for his age, or one
to hide lovers in the village
away from a kitchen wife, or make
up stories down the local pub
to a crowd of mates. He was alone;
you don’t dress in green crimplene
trousers with off-white grubby
shirt for anyone else. His parting
of coarse grey hair was the first thing
that struck me; how it split him
right down the middle: two parts,
symmetrical (half sad, half sad).
I’d a vision of him as a boy,
his mother combing him in two,
expecting he would stay like that.
(previously published in Rialto 71)
Hilda Sheehan is a mother of 5 children and has been a psychiatric nurse and Montessori teacher. She is editor of Domestic Cherry magazine and also works for Swindon Artswords (Literature Development) and the Swindon Festival of Poetry.