After a Short Illness
Bare chested, fresh out of pomade,
he lies with a beat-up paperback
propped for the benefit of shade.
Lothario of seltzer, tight with the riot squad,
he remembers the Margate Lido,
art deco on the Bray esplanade.
Dozing in a cloud of powder and snuff,
he dreams where red brick stores
and gives back heat like a risen loaf.
For a brief lunch hour he can waive,
pay check, bus pass, toothbrush
waiting in its cup, the grave.