‘A Pint of Milk’

David Wheatley

leaving behind     only yourself and     the door unlocked
venture down     the avenue
for the messages     becoming the street
as you go          and keeping an eye out for

a hole in your shoe     the dog’s first word
a bundle of rye     tomorrow’s paper
a pub with no beer     a hole in the sky

they’re not just coming     the convoy of
mobility buggies
they’re coming
for you
the cash machine keypad     scalds to the touch     in the heat
the printed balance slips you     a ransom note for your money

then visit in no particular order

hair, nail, tanning salons     bookie’s, grocer’s, off-licence
and video shop     as the mood takes you
in search of

a bottle of stubble     tomato polish
a half-pound of sun     God’s own apostrophe
sure-fire odds
of a million to one

the dog in the barber’s swallows the hair and is sick

this 3 for 2 offer     one’s not enough    three you can’t carry
           two they won’t let you       the thing is impossible
      leave it      give up            give it up
                            but not forgetting

bundling in   the open door
                        you come bearing
      a pint of milk for the tea
                  and a bag for life