Chocolate Box

Now that the leaves have left
and the winter chimneys
rock upwards from the black brickwork,
the sooty steelworks blank
against the sky, scaffolding,
cages, iron ladders, morning
sun cuts over the horizon,
reveals a quiet sculpture
that puts nature to shame,
to the bottom drawer,
with pillowcases, nuptial nightie,
ribbons red and blue. Down
in the hallway, a safety helmet,
working gloves, shadow of pickaxe,
tin lunchbox, communal bath,
a single note sung by many…
Sketches and photographs lie
on a mahogany desk, with carpet
and leather, inkwell, blotter,
half a ton of combination safe.

On a hillside a lad sings,
scans the kites and kestrels,
follows a sheeptrack to Blowden Pool,
finds the worms and maggots
in the carcass of a fox
then looks to tomorrow
and the next day, and on,
like it was all guaranteed,
like it was up to him
to choose or deny,
yes or no a million times over.

Inside the safe, wodges of banknotes,
other papers, signatures, bonds,
a point four five revolver.

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