This Pulcro

At last he turns the corner
Brief case – brown – in hand
Into the final stretch, his street,
Still grumbling beneath his breath,
That Chinese woman had not just stood in his way
As he fought himself off the train,
But had leaned into him!

This end, the poor end,
Is where those two girls live
In the downstairs flat conversion, Victorian.
Clara, the prettier one,
Is off to the Canaries tomorrow.
If she had stayed around longer when she told him,
Or more likely had he thought on his feet for a change,
He would have offered her a lift to the airport.
This pulcro wondered what music he should play &ndash
One of his daughter's CDs? –
He played through the would-be conversation
In his mind – its tone, its mood, its gentleness.

His thoughts turn
To the lines around his wife's eyes,
His thinning hair,
That day in the summer on the South Downs
Holding hands, the sun on their backs,
The chalk blue butterflies.

The latch of the garden gate,
The easy turn of the Yale lock
Fade into the knowledge
That all that will ever happen