Friday, 27 May 2016
He's awkward in the ballroom
size twelve feet in regimental boots
linen slacks against a starched white shirt
creases you could stab someone with.
His lips move as he counts the steps
looking down, always looking down;
one meaty hand on a girl
her waist so small
a wasp would be jealous.
He smells on Brylcreme and cigarettes
his half of bitter untouched
though the ashtray is full of spent matches
while she smells of perming solution
and the cheap perfume she bought at Woolworth's
but the face powder doesn't hide her freckles
and her teeth are crooked yellow
but the kiss on the cheek she gives him
before she boards the 4A bus to Benwell
will sustain him for almost a year
and the death of his platoon.