Meanwhile at Bushworth Hall

Tired and struggling to focus properly,
Godfrey put down his tacky thriller,

Took away the two remaining checkers
From the drink stained Backgammon board

And stared at his chipped art deco clock,
It’s petulant hands always running ten minutes slow;

He took his pipe from his lounge jacket pocket,
Wandered unsteadily down the hall and opened the front door.

Outside the wind blew unrehearsed smoke rings through the mist,
Autumn’s leaves glided and left whispering vapour trails,

The neighbours’ dog Jeff practised howls at the moon,
As the sheep on the adjacent field shuffled further and further away,
And an owl hooted commas and the odd question mark.

As Godfrey took incessant puffs on his pipe,
Spitting odd bits of tobacco from the wet on his lips,
He knew deep down Alastair wasn’t returning,

His Hyundai i30 Fastback was still on the drive
But the words ‘JUST HAVE IT’ were written on the bonnet in shaving foam
And the keys were hung on a bent windscreen wiper.

He’d headed three miles home barefoot,

Addled on DMT and home-brewed rhubarb gin,
Cuts across his forehead from his arguments with the deer antlers
On the walls by the back door porch,

Hair wet from Godfrey’s broken bidet
And a torn shirt sleeve from the wrestling;

Alistair also lost a toe that night,
But at least he’d gained a friend.

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