Like the name of some poor bog body
curled up into leather and bone
or a shlocky B-movie monster
that’s what I called him
whenever he boarded the train.
He’d sway to the rails’ curves
popping lager cans like grenades,
his mouth warped into a sickle,
his jaw always primed for a punch.
I invented stories of regret
at every sight of him, poured
whole histories of lucklessness
into his pitiable frame,
so when I saw him around town
it only added to the joke. His face
mooning up over sandwiches
in my favourite cafe, or out
after work, when I would spy him
patrolling the evening streets.
Oh that jaw, those furious eyes!
Perhaps, I should have stopped him
even once, taken him in my arms
holding tightly as he struggled
against the squeeze of healthy reality.
Who knows? I might have saved him,
and through such benevolence
found a way to redeem the world,
but I wasn’t doing so well myself.
Daniel Bennett was born in Shropshire and lives and works in London. His poems have been widely published, most recently in The Best New British and Irish Poets 2017 from Eyewear Books. He’s also the author of the novel, All the Dogs.