Daily missive from Peter Forster

Daily missive for Friday the 27th of February.
It was only a lunch box.
Battered now,
And faded from too much sun.
A lighter blue,
Than it once was, when new.
The superman logo
Peeled away long ago.
Even the catch was gone,
And he kept it closed
With an old leather strap.
Washed it out under a tap,
In the convenience,
At the station.
He was careful about hygiene.
And obsessively,
Kept hands and face clean,
Which was unusual these days.
It was a ritual,
And reminded him of carbolic soap,
Hanging on a rope.
The coarse feel of a flannel,
Dragged across his face.
The slap of a hand,
On his bare backside,
Whenever he cried,
Which he usually did,
When the suds got in his eyes.
He stared at himself
In the stainless steel mirror
Above the sink.
Cupped his hands
And tried to drink,
As the water dribbled
Through his beard.
And held his breath against the stink
Of other men
And their foul habits.
Perhaps he should
Make his way to the platform,
Lay open the box,
Play a few tunes
Get enough money
For some new strings,
Buy a breakfast
And a sandwich for later.
The box was made for such things.
It was a good find.
In a builders skip,
Where he had tried to sleep
Among the black bags.
Warm but heady,
And he needed
To be ready
For the garbage truck.
It would be just his luck,
One day,
To sleep in,
And end up in a land fill.
Not that he
Would be the first.
He stooped,
To slurp another drink,
Nothing seemed to quench his thirst
These days.
It was the diabetes,
And the cold was
Playing havoc
With his extremities.
His toes were black,
There was no coming back,
What a mess.
He should have demanded more,
Not less,
From the divorce.
If she saw him now
Would she feel remorse?
But that would not happen.
She was long gone,
On the other side of town
And he was
Washing in a toilet,
Just another,
Sad old John.


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